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Face Vessel

Made by Artist/maker unknown, American

Made in Bath, South Carolina, United States, North and Central America


c. 1860-1870

Glazed stoneware, unglazed earthenware

6 3/4 × 5 1/16 inches (17.1 × 12.9 cm)

Curatorial Department:
American Art

* Gallery 209, American Art, second floor

Accession Number:

Credit Line:
Gift of Frank Samuel, 1917

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The original purpose of these distinctive-looking jugs remains unknown. They were likely produced by enslaved African Americans, who were the main workforce at potteries in South Carolina during the 1800s. Historians suggest the jugs were used to cool water, as grave markers, or in spiritual ceremonies that preserved earlier African traditions.

* Works in the collection are moved off view for many different reasons. Although gallery locations on the website are updated regularly, there is no guarantee that this object will be on display on the day of your visit.