Face jugs, also known as ugly jugs, date back to the 14th century. They were a common form of art among African American slaves living in the North and South Carolina’s during the mid-1800s. Some historians speculate that the grotesque features of the face indicate that they were used for spiritual purposes. For example, to ward off evil spirits. This theory is backed up by archaeological findings, which have shown that a large proportion of face jugs were buried at the entrance of former slaves’ homes. It is possible that this location was designed to prevent evil spirits from entering the home.
Fourth graders used red clay and the pinch and coiling techniques to create the head of their vessel. Additional red clay, with accents of white, were used to add features to the face. After an initial firing, the jugs were lightly sponged with brown glaze, and fired once more, to give them a dated appearance.