Pressed Glass Mug with Goat Design
Pressed Glass Mug with Goat Design

June 18, 2015: Pressed Glass Mug with Goat (Chivu) Design

Puebla, Puebla, Mexico, 1963
16 cm (height) x 10 cm (opening diameter) x 15 cm (with handle)
700 ml holding volume

Daniel Crowley, a professor of art and anthropology at UC Davis from 1961-1996, joined the newly formed Anthropology Department and began the instruction of cultural anthropology at UC Davis. He loved traveling and conducting field work, which he did extensively despite losing use of his legs in 1946 from polio while in the Navy. His travels led him to every country except Iraq and earned him recognition in the Guinness Book of World Records as “the most traveled disabled person.”

On a field expedition to Mexico and Arizona in 1963, early in his career at UC Davis, Crowley collected a number of folk crafts at the local markets he encountered, including the Day of the Dead pieces currently on display in Young Hall. Unfortunately, most of the items he collected on this expedition were broken in shipment back to the U.S. Among the pieces that survived was this lucky pressed glass mug.

Pressed glass is a technique of glass manufacture that was developed in the United States in the 1820s (and in Europe in the 1830s) that involves the pressing of hot glass into a mold with the use of a plunger (dissimilar to the kind that may be found in a bathroom). This technique allowed for the mass production of pieces with intricately patterned designs and can be identified by mold lines that run across the piece. In the 1920s, pressed glass fell out of favor to imported crystal glass from Europe, but it rose in popularity again during the great depression as an affordable glass. Pressed glass continues on as an artistic form of glass production, particularly the painted or metal-applied variety known as “carnival glass,” a technique that was developed in the early 20th century.

This particular mug, decorated with geometric designs and the face of a goat has a number of large bubbles suspended in the hardened glass, perhaps an invitation to have a nice, cold bubbly drink as you enjoy the festivities.

Cheers to you, Dr. Crowley!

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