Symposium: Unmasking the Mysteries of Face Jugs.

December 7-9, 2012
McKissick Museum
University of South Carolina
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Face Jugs: African-American Art and Ritual in 19th-Century South Carolina features a stunning selection of uniquely South Carolina stoneware vessels. This exhibition, on view at the Columbia Museum of Art, is the first time in almost 30 years that a major American art museum brings together a definitive collection of African-American face jugs, borrowed from leading institutions and private collectors. This exhibition further illustrates the depth and breadth of African-American contributions to the rich artistic legacy of our state.”Face jug” is a term coined by decorative arts historians to refer to an African-American pottery type created in the South (most notably in present-day Aiken County, South Carolina) between 1850 and 1880. The small, alkaline-glazed stoneware vessels possess facial features-usually wide-eyes and bared teeth-fashioned of kaolin, a locally sourced clay.

These 23 vessels celebrate the aesthetic power of this potent art form and suggest new ways to consider their uses and, perhaps more importantly, their cultural meanings within a community of Americans who lived within challenging circumstances. Two of the pieces are on loan from McKissick Museum.

The exhibition in Columbia is made possible by the support of McKissick Museum, Charlton Hall Auctioneers, Allen and Marcia Montgomery and Susan Thorpe and John Baynes.

On December 8, join McKissick Museum and the Columbia Museum of Art for the symposium, Unmasking the Mysteries of Face Jugs. Register online here.

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