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Face Vessel

Origin: America, Maryland, Baltimore
Overall: 10 1/16 x 7 9/16 x 7 3/4in. (25.6 x 19.2 x 19.7cm)
Lead-glazed earthenware and unglazed white earthenware
Museum Purchase
Acc. No. 1984.900.1
Stippled black and yellow-brown glazed earthenware harvest jug with modeled "grotesque" face. Ridged stirrup handle tops oval glove-shaped vessel. At each handle base is a spout; one on left is thin, 1/4" diameter opening, with a conical top; one on right is larger, 1-inch diameter opening, with round lip and rim. Toward front edge of handle on top of head is a pointed projection like a horn. Facial area primarily yellow- brown glaze, features slightly indented from oval plane of jug. Modeled eyes have unglazed white irises and red pupils, both separately applied. Applied nose is broad with sharply pointed ridge. Smiling mouth with white, unglazed incised teeth is surrounded by heavy modeled lips with darker glaze than surrounding features. Modeled ears protrude from sides of jug.
Label:This jug relates to the "monkey jar," a vessel used in the West Indies and the American south during the nineteenth century to hold water and cool it by evaporation. The grotesque face on this piece typifies the distinctly American interpretation of the form.
Provenance:Possibly from the Musselman Collection (picked in southern Lancaster County, near Washington Borough).

J. Roderick Moore, Ferum, Va.