Face Vessel

Face Vessel

<< >>
Usage conditions apply
Downloads
Description
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.
The earliest face vessels known to have been produced by white southern potters were probably not made until the end of the 1800s. White potters working in the Edgefield area in the mid-1800s may have seen similar vessels made by African American potters who were enslaved, and taken the idea with them as they moved out of South Carolina.
The piece on the left was made by Georgia potter Cheever Meaders (1887-1967) who produced a small number of face vessels. Although they were popular, Meaders felt that they were too much trouble to make. Meaders used pieces of broken, glazed plates for the eyes and teeth on this piece.
Location
Currently not on view
Object Name
vessel, face
date made
1967
maker
Meaders, Cheever
place made
United States: Georgia, White county
Physical Description
ceramic, stoneware, coarse (overall material)
Measurements
overall: 8 1/2 in x 4 1/2 in; 21.59 cm x 11.43 cm
ID Number
CE.274459.02
catalog number
274459.02
accession number
274459
Credit Line
Mrs. C. Malcolm Watkins
See more items in
Cultural and Community Life: Ceramics and Glass
Cultures & Communities
Domestic Furnishings
Face Vessels
Data Source
National Museum of American History
Nominate this object for photography.   

Our collection database is a work in progress. We may update this record based on further research and review. Learn more about our approach to sharing our collection online.

If you would like to know how you can use content on this page, see the Smithsonian's Terms of Use. If you need to request an image for publication or other use, please visit Rights and Reproductions.

Comments

Add a comment about this object