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Memory Bowl in Yellowware and Do-Dads c1900

  • Details

    An early 19th century yellowware bowl decorated with soft turquoise color beads in a tight, tiny patterns and dangling loops of round beads at the rim.  On the bowl ~ glass buttons & beads, clay beads, vintage plastic buttons, flowers and abstract forms and geometric forms, rhinestones and pastes and light metals, bits and pieces of costume jewelry I would date to be about 1910-30. 

    All are pressed onto this large mixing bowl with a collared lip in the old tradition of the Memory Jug ~ a tribute to a loved one, long ago.  The collared lip and the impressed mark on the bottom of the bowl give it a probably date of manufacture as c1900.  Judging from the items mounted, we would date the conversion from a mixing bowl to a memory bowl as being after WWI, about 1920s-30s. 

    The memory piece is a sentimental work of folk art made at home, at the time of the death of a loved one.  Various schools of thought as to its origin ~ foremost (and most logical) that the ritual began in Central Africa and came here with the slaves. Memory jugs,  bowls and crocks were funerary objects, each containing sentimental pieces from someone's life ~ the loves, wishes and dreams.  A practice at first most prevalent in America's south soon spread to the northern states and then took a turn to the west. 

    Interesting to consider that while history books speak in terms of Saga: the vast sweep of generations and eras, the memory jug speaks in terms of singular biography.  These  pieces are deep-seated sharings of souls.  The containers come alive with fragments of the richness of even the most simple of lives. A heavy piece with dimensions: 9" diameter at the top; 5" high.  Questions?  Email anytime!

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