Artifacts with a Stinky History

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An innocent enough ceramic bowl, but what is that little man inside doing?! FN 859 / 1952.0232.000001

I scared myself in storage the other day. I was pulling ceramics for a researcher when I saw an odd figure painted at the bottom of a large pot. His hands were at his face, mouth and eyes wide open in fear, and his hair was sticking all up in the air. What in the world?! I tilted it toward me to get a better look and a ceramic brown frog was there, yikes!

Turns out it was a chamber pot, which made the situation all the funnier. Now I think the little guy was reacting with disgust, not fear. I imagine him saying, “You just dropped WHAT on me?!” Chamber pots were the early bathrooms, a place to hold your business until you could dispose of it. As a person living with indoor plumbing, my only response is ick. I can only imagine the smell.   Read more