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Mark M. Newell with Peter Lenzo
Making Faces: Archaeological Evidence of African-American Face Jug Production

Ceramics in America 2006

Full Article
Contents
  • Figure 1
    Figure 1

    Face jug fragment, Miles Mill, Edgefield, South Carolina, ca. 1867–1872. Alkaline-glazed stoneware. H. 5". (All fragments courtesy Georgia Archaeological Institute; photo, Gavin Ashworth.)

  • Figure 2
    Figure 2

    Toby jug, Staffordshire, England, ca. 1785. Pearlware. H. 10". (Chipstone Foundation; photo, Gavin Ashworth.)

  • Figure 3
    Figure 3

    Face jug, Edgefield, South Carolina, ca. 1860–1870. Alkaline-glazed stoneware. H. 5 3/4". (Private collection; photo, Gavin Ashworth.)

  • Figure 4
    Figure 4

    Face jug, Edgefield, South Carolina, ca. 1860–1870. Alkaline-glazed stoneware. H. 6 5/8". (Courtesy, James Witkowski; photo, Gavin Ashworth.)

  • Figure 5
    Figure 5

    Face jug, Edgefield, South Carolina, ca. 1860–1870. Alkaline-glazed stoneware. H. 4 7/8". (Courtesy, Arthur Goldberg; photo, Gavin Ashworth.)

  • Figure 6
    Figure 6

    Nkisi figure, Zaire, Africa, ca. 1900. Canarium schweinfurthii. H. 18 7/8". (Courtesy, Georgia Archaeological Institute; photo, Gavin Ashworth.)

  • Figure 7
    Figure 7

    Detail of the nkisi figure illustrated in fig. 6

  • Figure 8a
    Figure 8a

    Face jug fragments, Miles Mill, Edgefield, South Carolina, ca. 1867–1872. Alkaline-glazed stoneware.

  • Figure 8b
    Figure 8b

    Face jug fragments, Miles Mill, Edgefield, South Carolina, ca. 1867–1872. Alkaline-glazed stoneware.

  • Figure 8c
    Figure 8c

    Face jug fragments, Miles Mill, Edgefield, South Carolina, ca. 1867–1872. Alkaline-glazed stoneware.

  • Figure 9
    Figure 9

    Face jug fragments, Miles Mill, Edgefield, South Carolina, ca. 1867–1872. Alkaline-glazed stoneware.

  • Figure 10
    Figure 10

    Face jug neck fragments, Miles Mill, Edgefield, South Carolina, ca. 1867–1872. Alkaline-glazed stoneware.

  • Figure 11
    Figure 11

    Face jug fragments, Miles Mill, Edgefield, South Carolina, ca. 1867–1872. Alkaline-glazed stoneware.

  • Figure 12
    Figure 12

    Face jug handle fragment, Miles Mill, Edgefield, South Carolina, ca. 1867–1872. Alkaline-glazed stoneware.

  • Figure 13
    Figure 13

    Face jug base fragments, Miles Mill, Edgefield, South Carolina, ca. 1870. Alkaline-glazed stoneware.

  • Figure 14
    Figure 14

    Artist’s reconstruction based on the fragments recovered from the John L. Miles site. (Drawing, Christine Madigan.) The best guess for the shape of the face jug came from an intact storage jug found on the Miles site.

  • Figure 15a
    Figure 15a

    In this sequence of photographs, Peter Lenzo forms the jug on the wheel. First the clay is centered and opened, then a cylinder is raised and the shaping of the body is done. After the body contours are defined, the shoulder and neck are closed to create the jug. The initial finishing of the neck and lip begins at this stage.

  • Figure 15b
    Figure 15b

    In this sequence of photographs, Peter Lenzo forms the jug on the wheel. First the clay is centered and opened, then a cylinder is raised and the shaping of the body is done. After the body contours are defined, the shoulder and neck are closed to create the jug. The initial finishing of the neck and lip begins at this stage.

  • Figure 15c
    Figure 15c

    In this sequence of photographs, Peter Lenzo forms the jug on the wheel. First the clay is centered and opened, then a cylinder is raised and the shaping of the body is done. After the body contours are defined, the shoulder and neck are closed to create the jug. The initial finishing of the neck and lip begins at this stage.

  • Figure 15d
    Figure 15d

    In this sequence of photographs, Peter Lenzo forms the jug on the wheel. First the clay is centered and opened, then a cylinder is raised and the shaping of the body is done. After the body contours are defined, the shoulder and neck are closed to create the jug. The initial finishing of the neck and lip begins at this stage.

  • Figure 15e
    Figure 15e

    In this sequence of photographs, Peter Lenzo forms the jug on the wheel. First the clay is centered and opened, then a cylinder is raised and the shaping of the body is done. After the body contours are defined, the shoulder and neck are closed to create the jug. The initial finishing of the neck and lip begins at this stage.

  • Figure 15f
    Figure 15f

    In this sequence of photographs, Peter Lenzo forms the jug on the wheel. First the clay is centered and opened, then a cylinder is raised and the shaping of the body is done. After the body contours are defined, the shoulder and neck are closed to create the jug. The initial finishing of the neck and lip begins at this stage.

  • Figure 15g
    Figure 15g

    In this sequence of photographs, Peter Lenzo forms the jug on the wheel. First the clay is centered and opened, then a cylinder is raised and the shaping of the body is done. After the body contours are defined, the shoulder and neck are closed to create the jug. The initial finishing of the neck and lip begins at this stage.

  • Figure 15h
    Figure 15h

    In this sequence of photographs, Peter Lenzo forms the jug on the wheel. First the clay is centered and opened, then a cylinder is raised and the shaping of the body is done. After the body contours are defined, the shoulder and neck are closed to create the jug. The initial finishing of the neck and lip begins at this stage.

  • Figure 15i
    Figure 15i

    In this sequence of photographs, Peter Lenzo forms the jug on the wheel. First the clay is centered and opened, then a cylinder is raised and the shaping of the body is done. After the body contours are defined, the shoulder and neck are closed to create the jug. The initial finishing of the neck and lip begins at this stage.

  • Figure 16
    Figure 16

    Peter Lenzo finishes the neck and lip of the jug.

  • Figure 17
    Figure 17

    The thrown jug body is cut from the wheel head with a wire tool.

  • Figure 18
    Figure 18

    A typical method of forming handles is known as “pulling,” whereby the clay is drawn out in successive pulls until the right thickness is achieved. The pulled strip is then cut to size.

  • Figure 19
    Figure 19

    The cut handle is attached first to the shoulder and then to the body.

  • Figure 20a
    Figure 20a

    The first facial feature to be placed is the nose, which is attached as a wedge-shaped coil and subsequently modeled by hand.

  • Figure 20b
    Figure 20b

    The first facial feature to be placed is the nose, which is attached as a wedge-shaped coil and subsequently modeled by hand.

  • Figure 20c
    Figure 20c

    The first facial feature to be placed is the nose, which is attached as a wedge-shaped coil and subsequently modeled by hand.

  • Figure 21a
    Figure 21a

    After the nose is formed, two balls of the kaolin that will become the eyes are pressed into position.

  • Figure 21b
    Figure 21b

    After the nose is formed, two balls of the kaolin that will become the eyes are pressed into position.

  • Figure 21c
    Figure 21c

    After the nose is formed, two balls of the kaolin that will become the eyes are pressed into position.

  • Figure 22a
    Figure 22a

    Coils of clay are placed over the top and bottom of the kaolin balls to create the eye sockets. This step is one of the most critical because the shrinkage rate of the two clay bodies differs

  • Figure 22b
    Figure 22b

    Coils of clay are placed over the top and bottom of the kaolin balls to create the eye sockets. This step is one of the most critical because the shrinkage rate of the two clay bodies differs

  • Figure 22c
    Figure 22c

    Coils of clay are placed over the top and bottom of the kaolin balls to create the eye sockets. This step is one of the most critical because the shrinkage rate of the two clay bodies differs

  • Figure 23a
    Figure 23a

    An oval pad of kaolin is prepared and pressed onto the body of the jug. Coils of clay are then placed and modeled to create the lips.

  • Figure 23b
    Figure 23b

    An oval pad of kaolin is prepared and pressed onto the body of the jug. Coils of clay are then placed and modeled to create the lips.

  • Figure 23c
    Figure 23c

    An oval pad of kaolin is prepared and pressed onto the body of the jug. Coils of clay are then placed and modeled to create the lips.

  • Figure 24a
    Figure 24a

    Clay coils are positioned to form the eyebrows, which are modeled with the help of a stick tool.

  • Figure 24b
    Figure 24b

    Clay coils are positioned to form the eyebrows, which are modeled with the help of a stick tool.

  • Figure 25
    Figure 25

    An original eye fragment is compared to Lenzo’s prototype.

  • Figure 26a
    Figure 26a

    Clay coils are placed for the ears, which are modeled by hand.

  • Figure 26b
    Figure 26b

    Clay coils are placed for the ears, which are modeled by hand.

  • Figure 27
    Figure 27

    A sharpened stick is used to create the iris. Most of the punctures observed on the fragments were deep and tubular.

  • Figure 28a
    Figure 28a

    The teeth are etched with a stick. Close examination of the fragments reveals that these marks were made after the lips had been applied.

  • Figure 28b
    Figure 28b

    The teeth are etched with a stick. Close examination of the fragments reveals that these marks were made after the lips had been applied.

  • Figure 29
    Figure 29

    As clay normally shrinks 10 to 15 percent during drying and firing, the unfired prototype face jug appears larger than the intact storage jug recovered from the site.

  • Figure 30
    Figure 30

    One of the demonstration jugs was cut in half to show the interior depressions resulting from the pressure applied when attaching the various facial features. These depressions are an exact match for many of the original sherds.

  • Figure 31a
    Figure 31a

    Melted wax is brushed over the kaolin mouth and eyes. This resist, which prevents the glaze from sticking to the kaolin, will burn off during firing leaving the applied areas white and unglazed. Some type of beeswax is thought to have been used by the Edgefield potters.

  • Figure 31b
    Figure 31b

    Melted wax is brushed over the kaolin mouth and eyes. This resist, which prevents the glaze from sticking to the kaolin, will burn off during firing leaving the applied areas white and unglazed. Some type of beeswax is thought to have been used by the Edgefield potters.

  • Figure 32a
    Figure 32a

    The liquid glaze—a mixture of commercially prepared fine clay, hardwood ash secured from fireplaces and woodstoves, and mined feldspar—is poured into the interior of the jug and allowed to drain. The exterior of the jug is then dipped in the glaze and allowed to air dry. Note how the wax over the eyes and mouth repels the glaze. Many original sherds and vessels exhibit finger marks on the bases of the jugs (see fig. 35). The absence of glaze on the pot’s bottom helps keep them from sticking to the kiln during firing.

  • Figure 32b
    Figure 32b

    The liquid glaze—a mixture of commercially prepared fine clay, hardwood ash secured from fireplaces and woodstoves, and mined feldspar—is poured into the interior of the jug and allowed to drain. The exterior of the jug is then dipped in the glaze and allowed to air dry. Note how the wax over the eyes and mouth repels the glaze. Many original sherds and vessels exhibit finger marks on the bases of the jugs (see fig. 35). The absence of glaze on the pot’s bottom helps keep them from sticking to the kiln during firing.

  • Figure 33
    Figure 33

    Face jugs, Peter Lenzo, Columbia, South Carolina, 2006. Alkaline-glazed stoneware. H. 9 1/2". At left is the glazed but unfired face jug. At right is a previously fired example of a jug, shown to illustrate the alkaline glaze color.

  • Figure 34a
    Figure 34a

    Face jug, Miles Mill, Edgefield, South Carolina, ca. 1867–1872. Alkaline-glazed stoneware. (Courtesy, Charlton Brasher.) Note that the lips and teeth have spalled away on this example at their points of attachment.

  • Figure 34b
    Figure 34b

    Face jug, Miles Mill, Edgefield, South Carolina, ca. 1867–1872. Alkaline-glazed stoneware. (Courtesy, Charlton Brasher.) Note that the lips and teeth have spalled away on this example at their points of attachment.

  • Figure 35a
    Figure 35a

    Face jug, Miles Mill, Edgefield, South Carolina, ca. 1867–1872. Alkaline-glazed stoneware. H. 5 9/16". (Private collection; photo, Gavin Ashworth.).

  • Figure 35b
    Figure 35b

    Face jug, Miles Mill, Edgefield, South Carolina, ca. 1867–1872. Alkaline-glazed stoneware. H. 5 9/16". (Private collection; photo, Gavin Ashworth.).