Larger Type
Smaller Type

Search Collections

Ceremonial Urn

1992 Steven Goldberg Born: 1955 hand-built ceramic 20 1/2 x 10 5/8 x 9 3/8 in. (52.0 x 27.1 x 23.8 cm) Smithsonian American Art Museum Gift of MCI 2001.89.21.1 Smithsonian American Art Museum
Luce Foundation Center, 4th Floor, 53A

Luce Center Label

Ceremonial Urn is one of two hand-built urns by Steven Goldberg in the American Art Museum’s collection. The shape of the urn, with its single handle and elongated body, is similar to a type of ancient Greek vessel known as a lekythos. Such vessels stored oil used to anoint the bodies of unmarried men after death. Goldberg’s vessel, however, lacks the slender neck of the traditional form, and the circular handle—oddly placed and too small to be used for lifting—suggests that it is more decorative than functional. The gritty finish, a result of the firing process, and the intentional chipping around the base and mouth, make Ceremonial Urn seem as if it were created centuries ago.


decorative arts - ceramic

Crafts - Clay


About Steven Goldberg

Born: 1955

More works in the collection by
Steven Goldberg