Exceedingly Rare and Important Stoneware Face Harvest Jug Depicting an African-American Man, Northeastern U.S. or Ohio, circa 1830-60

Summer 2020 Stoneware Auction

Lot #: 38

Price Realized: $5,100.00

($4,250 hammer, plus 20% buyer's premium)

PLEASE NOTE:  This result is 3 years old, and the American ceramics market frequently changes. Additionally, small nuances of color, condition, shape, etc. can mean huge differences in price. If you're interested in having us sell a similar item for you, please contact us here.

Auction Highlight:  Summer 2020 Auction | Face Jugs

Summer 2020 Auction Catalog

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Exceedingly Rare and Important Stoneware Face Harvest Jug, Northeastern U.S. or Ohio origin, circa 1830-1860, ovoid form on stepped pedestal base with applied, tubular pouring spout, the front decorated with a hand-modeled and applied clay face including eyes with applied and incised pupils, forehead, nose with carved nostrils, slightly-open mouth with incised teeth, broad chin, realistic ears, and extruded clay "coleslaw" forming the figure's eyebrows, sideburns, and elaborate hair. Featuring a solemn expression with life-like features, this face jug is among the most engaging renderings of an African-American known in utilitarian American ceramics. Possibly made to commemorate a famous figure of the 19th century, this jug may be akin to the Medford, Massachusetts, Toussaint L'Ouverture portrait pitcher, with similar moral implications, as it runs entirely counter to the caricaturized themes often seen in African-American-themed folk art of the 19th century. The jug's dramatic stepped base, ovoid form, and elongated pouring spout, indicate a master of both modeling and potting. A noticeable smell from the interior indicates it was used to hold molasses. Among the earliest representations of an African-American in American-made ceramics. Restoration to bottom edge of pedestal base. Restoration to tops of ears. Chipping to teeth. Minor nicks to one eye. Some expected chipping to hair. H 11 1/2".

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