United States (20th Century, unknown makers)
The term “Memory jugs” is a convenient shorthand for a range of mosaic-collaged objects—not just jugs, but containers of all sorts: bottles, boxes (cigar and otherwise), vases, pots, teapots, kettles, urns, pitchers, plates, glasses, jars, lamps, salt shakers, picture frames, mirrors, dollhouses, and even clocks (containers for time). Makers, almost all of whom remain anonymous, cover a vessel in putty or a similar substance, pushing objects of remembrance, possessions and symbols alike, into the putty. Perhaps these objects—a favorite pipe, a clutch of seashells, marbles, ceramic figurines, keys—commemorate their dearly departed owner, as oral tradition maintains. Perhaps they commemorate the artist herself, her own vision of beauty or self-identity.