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FACE JUGS ~ a southern tradition ~ created by Sonia McDowell.

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Presentation on theme: "FACE JUGS ~ a southern tradition ~ created by Sonia McDowell."— Presentation transcript:

1 FACE JUGS ~ a southern tradition ~ created by Sonia McDowell

2 An African American Tradition This is a face jug made by an unknown African-American slave around 1850. Enslaved African-Americans made bricks and pottery for use on the plantation. In their spare time, they created clay jugs with faces. These face jugs were highly cherished in the community. They were passed down from one generation to the next. Other potters also made face jugs. Perhaps they saw these small vessels and tried to make a face on one of their jugs.

3 Face jugs attributed to a slave potter in Edgefield, South Carolina, about 1850 This unique ceramic face jug first appeared in South in the mid-1800s. Jugs like these are thought to have been made by a small number of Black slaves working as potters. Though we do not know their purpose, some believe they may have been made for religious or burial use, or may have been made as way to express themselves while living under harsh conditions.

4 Of all the crafts native to the South, one of the most interesting is the ceramic face jug, or "ugly jug". The tradition of pottery with faces dates back to Egyptian times and appears in many other cultures throughout the ages. What makes the face jug so unique and special is how they were created. White clay was combined with the dark clay on the jugs to make features that mimmic human eyeballs and teeth. Though often referred to as “slave pots”, both white and black potters created these jugs - not just the slave potters. The jugs sold well because there was a need to store moonshine in a container that didn't look like every other jug in the house pantry. Children were strongly warned against touching the face jug or "the boogie man would get ya!" So the jugs were made as mean looking and ugly as possible, and generally the faces were crudely formed. After the Civil War, many potters moved away but the tradition of making "ugly jugs" continued throughout the south. Some potter families farmed and created face pots to make a living. Today, potters have brought back the interest in face jugs. Some of the older generation of potters could hardly get 25 cents for their jugs are now selling at four and five digit prices for a big jug! *from SC tradition of Face Jugs

5 Face Vessels, Stoneware, United States, 19th and 20th century, Makers unknown. Negative number 92-16905. From the Eleanor and Mabel Van Alstyne Collection of American Folk Art








13 African Pots & Sculptures

14 WEBSITES –Websites of slave face pots – article your looking for is “Making faces: Southern Face Vessels from 1840 – 1990 –other websites of more recent artists influenced or carrying on the tradition -not – check folk art -not - kid oriented site -not - article “Southern Tradition of Face Jugs” - Antiques Roadshow in Miami: Face Jug 2002 ots=Dt13ZjkEXs&sig=L42kkKVJybEKgPgh-o7Gz1KKXTg#PPA66,M1 - Information about Edgefield Slave Face Jugs from Oxford History of Art: African American Art pg.66 ots=Dt13ZjkEXs&sig=L42kkKVJybEKgPgh-o7Gz1KKXTg#PPA66,M1 On- line Lesson Plan - More Information at SPECIAL THANK YOU to Pat Poitinger, Linda Johnson, and Robin Rodgers for their assistance and teachings on ceramic face jugs

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