Memory Decanter with Red Wax and Indian Head Penny

  • Unidentified, Memory Decanter with Red Wax and Indian Head Penny, after 1904, glass bottle and stopper with red wax embedded with metal, glass, shells, and coins, Smithsonian American Art Museum, Gift of Herbert Waide Hemphill, Jr. and museum purchase made possible by Ralph Cross Johnson, 1986.65.307A-B

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Some memory jars may have come from African American traditions of decorating graves with objects owned by the deceased. The objects embedded in the surface of these bottles and jars provide clues about when they were made or who made them. For example, Jug with Finial includes a campaign button for William Jennings Bryan, a Democratic presidential candidate between 1896 and 1908, while High-Buttoned Shoe shows a macabre row of teeth that may have belonged to the maker.

Title
Memory Decanter with Red Wax and Indian Head Penny
Artist
Date
after 1904
Location
Dimensions
overall: 11 x 4 1/2 x 4 1/2 in. (27.9 x 11.4 x 11.4 cm.)
bottle: 7 11/16 x 4 1/2 x 4 1/2 in. (19.5 x 11.4 x 11.4 cm.)
stopper: 3 11/16 x 3 1/4 x 3 1/4 in. (9.4 x 8.3 x 8.3 cm.)
Credit Line

Smithsonian American Art Museum

Gift of Herbert Waide Hemphill, Jr. and museum purchase made possible by Ralph Cross Johnson

Mediums
Mediums Description
glass bottle and stopper with red wax embedded with metal, glass, shells, and coins
Classifications
Keywords
  • Allegory – other – memory
Object Number
1986.65.307A-B
Palette
Linked Open Data
Linked Open Data URI

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