Face Vessel


The tradition of shaping human likenesses on ceramic vessels is thousands of years old. Face vessels held different meanings in different cultures around the world. Some were probably used in burial rituals, others satirized the person whose features were captured in clay, and still others were made just for fun.

Southern potters rarely signed their face vessels before the 1920s, making attribution difficult. The maker of this face vessel, second from the left, is not known. It came to the Museum as part of the Van Alstyne Collection of American Folk Art. Eleanor and Mabel Van Alstyne collected more than 300 examples of American folk art over a period of about 40 years.

Date Made: late 1800s-early 1900sDate Made: Late 19th and early 20th centuries

Maker: unknown

Location: Currently not on view

Place Made: United StatesAssociated Place: United States

See more items in: Home and Community Life: Ceramics and Glass, Face Vessels, Cultures & Communities, Domestic Furnishings


Exhibition Location:

Credit Line: Eleanor and Mabel Van Alstyne American Folk Art Collection

Data Source: National Museum of American History

Id Number: CE.65.1070Accession Number: 256396Catalog Number: 65.1070

Object Name: vessel, face

Physical Description: ceramic, stoneware (overall material)corncob (stopper material)wood (base material)Measurements: overall: 11 cm x 14.7 cm; 4 5/16 in x 5 13/16 in

Guid: http://n2t.net/ark:/65665/ng49ca746ac-2d9e-704b-e053-15f76fa0b4fa

Record Id: nmah_1329695

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