[Clayart] Mortuary Jar Lids-My Approach

William Lucius iacr at msn.com
Wed Jan 11 20:45:41 EST 2017

A concern with mortuary jars is not uncommon for any archaeologist, but as a potter/archaeologist I bit the bullet and began making them in my pottery studio.  There are innumerable archaeological examples for inspiration, but my first attempt took the form of a rotund pig, with ears, legs, a tail and a snout.  Because the thrown lid did not have gravity to help hold it into the snout, I decided to pierce a horizontal hole through the snout and the lid, which when fired allows for the insertion of a twist of silver wire with looped ends amenable for secure closure of the lid.  After making a dozen or so of those I decided to focus on throwing tall, bellied jars with tight fitting lids similarly pierced, which further allowed me to peruse various ways to artistically close the vessel once the ashes have been installed.  My primary concern was to create mortuary pigs/jars with removable and replaceable lids.  Waterproof seals were never a concern, given that in archaeological time spans whole pots rarely survive, especially in burial contexts.

'Maybe I've been influenced by the old Quakers who believed it was a moral question always to consider what you're leaving behind.  Why not?  It's not a bad measure of a man - what he leaves behind".
William Least Heat Moon
Blue Highways: A Journey into America

William A. Lucius, Ph.D.
Independent Scholar
Ceramic Analyst
iacr at msn.com<mailto:iacr at msn.com>

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