Exhibition | Expressions of Power: Face Vessels of Edgefield District

Oct 14, 2022 — Jan 22, 2023

Expressions of Power: Face Vessels of Edgefield District presents sixty face vessels, the least understood and most mysterious examples of early nineteenth-century Edgefield pottery. Largely attributed to enslaved Black makers, these objects were not made for commercial purposes and were primarily created as “ritualistic” or “conjuring” objects that embodied spiritual traditions derived from the many cultures of the African Diaspora as adapted to life in South Carolina.

Whether smuggled by runaway slaves who escaped via the Underground Railroad, given or bartered to Union Soldiers during or after the Civil War, or conveyed by African Americans in the Great Migration of the first half of the twentieth century, these objects have transcended their humble origins and are appreciated today not only as art but also as powerful symbols of survival and endurance.