Monkey Jar

The porous clay pot kept the liquids cool. No one seems to know why the word “monkey” is used, but a monkey jar is always very spherical. Monkey jars can be traced back several centuries in the Caribbean. Afro-Caribbean artisans traditionally made this type of pottery, but European craftsmen made low-fire ceramics on Barbados, and probably introduced the craft, since sugar pots were needed on sugar plantations. Pottery manufacture is documented on Barbados in the 1670s; on Nevis it can be traced back to 1682; Antigua by the early 1700s; and sales of “earthen pots” were legalized in Jamaica by 1711. The Jamaica National Heritage Trust has a monkey jar dated from the period 1810-1900, which looks exactly like the Saba ones, minus the nub at the end of the handle and with the addition of decorative incisions.

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