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Face Jug

Decorative Arts and Design

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Face Jug

Artwork Details


Unidentified American Maker, Edgefield, South Carolina




Alkaline-glazed stoneware and kaolin

Accession #



9 x 7 1/4 x 7 1/4 inches


On View - Stent Family Wing, Skyway, Gallery 404


Face jugs have cultural roots in the anthropomorphized pottery of West Africa. Slave traders often targeted skilled laborers, including potters, which contributed to the spread of West African traditions on American soil, such as anthropomorphized vessels.
Many nineteenth-century face jugs like this one came from Edgefield, South Carolina—a major producer of American stoneware pottery—where many factory workers were of African descent. Face jugs have been found at sites along the Underground Railroad, suggesting they were so valued that people carried them during the dangerous journey to freedom.


Purchase with funds from the Decorative Arts Acquisition Endowment