Storage Jar from Hazor

Storage Jar from Hazor


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Inca Empire - Food Storage Vessel (Hands on History Pottery Kit)

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Art In History's replica is an example of a storage jar from the Inca Empire. With no written records of history before the Spanish conquest, much of what we know about Inca civilization is learned by studying their pottery. The lesson plan covers, 1200-1533.

This kit includes: 5.25" x 2.75" ceramic storage jar replica, paint brush, sponge, disposable plates, paint, and FREE lesson download. Lesson contains: history of the artifact, history of the time period, full color map, designs & motifs, and step-by-step decorating instructions.

There are a lot of neat historical crafts and craft ideas available, but it's not easy to find one that you'd happily keep on display after that school year, right? That's why we're so impressed with these kits. You're actually painting a pottery replica of a historical artifact. no paper mache or duct tape needed! Each kit includes an unfinished piece of pottery based on the artifact, a paint brush, sponge, paint, a disposable paint palette, step-by-step painting instructions, and craft paper/packing material, to protect your painting area. To take the activity further and learn more about the artifact and the historical time period that it represents, take advantage of the free lesson download, which is packed with lots of additional information. We love the quality of the materials and the reasonable price! Made in the USA. - Jess


Making Cordmarked Pottery

Pottery making is one of the hallmarks of early village life around the world, a technological development that allowed the creation of cooking and storage containers out of mere mud and fire. In the course of human history, ceramic technology—the use of heat to transform clay into an almost infinitely variable material—was a critically important achievement that led to metallurgy, concrete, and, more recently, silicon chips. But the adoption of ceramic technology began with a more modest step in most areas of the world—making simple earthenware pottery.

The basic process of making earthenware pottery was much the same for people all across the world, but each group had its own style and learned to use the clays and materials near at hand. In this exhibit we focus on the particular raw materials, techniques, and vessel forms typical of the Antelope Creek peoples and their neighbors in and near the Texas Panhandle over 500 years ago.

Borger Cordmarked Pottery

Around 900 years ago (A.D. 1100) the Plains villagers who lived along the Canadian River in the Texas Panhandle developed a distinctive style of earthenware pottery that archeologists today call Borger Cordmarked. The pottery style is named for the town of Borger, which overlooks the Canadian River valley in Hutchinson County, an area where many Antelope Creek villages once stood. The exterior surface of a cordmarked pot has hundreds of parallel indentations—cord impressions—left by the use of a cord-wrapped paddle in concert with an anvil stone. During pottery making, the small, rounded anvil stone was held on the inside of a pottery vessel while the force of the paddle on the outside compacted and shaped the clay wall in between. This technique allowed the villagers to create globular (shaped like a globe) cooking pots or jars about 1-foot high with thin strong walls such as those shown here. These were ordinary utilitarian vessels—fire-proof cooking containers used to boil and stew a variety of foods—not fine wares intended for ritual or trade.

Borger Cordmarked-style pottery is best known from a 100-mile stretch of the Canadian River and its tributaries in what is today the north-central part of the Texas Panhandle. It was made between about A.D. 1100 and A.D. 1450 by the peoples known to archeologists as the Antelope Creek culture. Very similar pottery was also made by related Plains Village peoples living in southeastern Colorado, southwestern Kansas, and the Oklahoma Panhandle. Their pottery was a localized variety that was part of a widespread tradition of making cordmarked earthenware shared by many of the villagers of the southern and central Great Plains and their predecessors. The earliest examples of cordmarked pottery in the region date to the early centuries A.D. during the Plains Woodland period (ca. A.D. 200-1100). Some of the latest examples come from historic Pawnee sites along the Republican and Loop Rivers in Kansas and Nebraska dating to the 1700s.

In North America, the technique of making cordmarked pottery appears to have originated in the eastern U.S. prior to 1000 B.C. In the central part of the country, the cordmarked pottery tradition occurs in the upper Midwest around 500 B.C. By the early centuries A.D. pottery-making cultures were spreading westward up the wooded lower valleys of the eastward-flowing tributaries of the mighty Mississippi in what is today Missouri, eastern Kansas, and eastern Oklahoma. From there, the Woodland peoples and their cordmarked pottery tradition spread to the west and northwest up the rivers and onto the Great Plains, including much of the Texas Panhandle. During this period Plains Woodland peoples were experimenting with agriculture and more settled life. The more sedentary lifestyle allowed people to experiment with new technologies such as pottery making.

The Woodland period cordmarked vessels were very large—up to 2 1/2-feet high—and had thick walls and conical shapes (with pointed bottoms like an inverted cone). These seem to have been used primarily as storage containers and were quite serviceable however, they were prone to break and too heavy to haul very far. Compared to storing food in underground storage pits, ceramic pots must have been a big improvement.

The form of cordmarked pots evolved through time, and by the Plains Village period (ca. A.D. 1100-1450) potters had learned to make much better pottery that had strong, thin walls and pleasingly round shapes. Functionally, the emphasis had changed from storage to cooking vessels. The rounded thin-walled form with a partially constricted opening provided a good trade-off between volume and weight. Round-based pottery could be placed directly on wood or dung fires and, if necessary, easily steadied with three small stones.

Village potters experimented with different rim designs—straight rims, flared rims, and collared (thickened) rims—and sometimes added decorations such as incised lines and fingernail impressions around the rim and neck. Localized variations across the southern and central Plains show that different groups were developing their own unique styles. For example, the Buried City villagers who lived along Wolf Creek in what is today the northeast corner of the Texas Panhandle often smoothed over the cordmarks and liked to decorate their pots with incised lines, impressions, and punctations. They also liked to use crushed scoria (red porous volcanic stone) and sometimes bone for temper.

Why cordmarking? The paddle and anvil method allows the potter to create strong, thin-walled vessels. Wrapping the paddles with fiber cords prevents bone or wooden paddles from sticking to the wet clay, the primary virtue of the technique from a potter's perspective. The cordmarks created small, parallel ridges that were oriented vertically and ran from the top of the vessel through the midsection. The cordmarks on the lower body and base overlap. The tiny ridges may have helped strengthen the characteristically thin vessel walls—often as thin as 2-4 mm (1/16 to 1/8 inch). But the cordmarked surface was advantageous for two other reasons—handling and heating.

The rough surface of a cordmarked vessel provided a good grip for what otherwise might have been a slippery vessel, especially when buffalo bones were boiled to extract grease. This messy process created black-sooted and stained cooking vessels—the Borger Cordmarked pottery found by archeologists is almost always darker in color than the freshly made replicas shown in this section.

Cordmarking also creates more surface area and thus allows more effective transfer of heat (energy) from a cooking fire to the contents of the pot compared to a vessel with a smooth exterior.

Learning to Make Cordmarked Pottery

About twenty years ago Panhandle native Alvin Lynn set out to learn how Borger Cordmarked pottery was made from start to finish. By doing so he hoped to gain insight into the lives of the Antelope Creek villagers who once made this pottery. So he embarked on his own program of "experimental archeology"—replicating the ancient technology using materials and tools that would have been readily available. Below is a step-by-step guide to making cordmarked pottery as developed by Lynn. But before we start, let's meet the man.

Alvin Lynn was raised on a ranch and farm near Matador, Texas, in the southeastern part of the Panhandle in the broken country of the Rolling Plains. Early on he became fascinated with the land, its rocks and its people, past and present. In college, he majored in geology and history at West Texas State University at Canyon and took classes from Dr. Jack Hughes. After college, he married and became a high school science teacher in Dumas, Texas.

A wedding gift of black polished pottery from Santa Clara Pueblo in north-central New Mexico inspired Alvin Lynn to learn how to make pottery. He spent 10 years developing his skill as a potter, studying with famed Santa Clara potters Barbara Naranjo and Madelene Tafoya. Pottery making, he learned, was experimental by nature and required a great deal of practice and experience to perfect. Gradually he became an accomplished potter, making Southwestern-style pottery which he gave to friends and sometimes sold.

Lynn became interested in learning how to replicate Borger Cordmarked after he joined the Panhandle Archeological Society and began volunteering on weekend archeological digs led by Hughes. Pottery sherds were a common find, but no one seemed to know much about how cordmarked pottery was made. So Lynn began carefully studying pottery samples from Antelope Creek sites looking for clues. He showed several partial Borger Cordmarked vessels to his teachers at Santa Clara and they made several helpful suggestions as to how he might proceed. The rest has been trial and error.

Over the last 20 years, Alvin Lynn has made dozens of cordmarked pots and put on many pottery-making demonstrations at museums, public schools, and archeological field schools. His replicas are used by researchers and museums to help bring to life the art and craft of pottery making. His work has been featured in newspapers, magazines and TV shows.


קובץ:Dagon Museum, Grain storage Jars from Tel Hazor (2).JPG

ניתן ללחוץ על תאריך/שעה כדי לראות את הקובץ כפי שנראה באותו זמן.

תאריך/שעהתמונה ממוזערתממדיםמשתמשהערה
נוכחית19:22, 14 במרץ 20112,592 × 1,944 (1.89 מגה־בייטים) Hanay


Belly-Amphora (Storage Jar)

Ancient artists frequently depicted events from the life of the demigod Herakles, especially the Twelve Labors he had to complete to attain immortality. On this amphora (storage jar) the great hero completes his first assignment—to kill a lion with an invincible hide that was terrorizing the village of Nemea. Here the contest has been decided Herakles strangles the lion, whose jaws he has pried open with his bare hands. To the right stand Athena and Hermes on the other stand a nymph and Iolaos, Herakles’s nephew and companion. In subsequent episodes, Herakles often wears the lion’s pelt, either as a headdress or over his arm, as a protective cloak.

These vases were used for the transport and storage of items such as wine and olives, and they were given as prizes in athletic competitions. Many vases have been damaged, either in antiquity or in modern times, and repaired. However, this amphora remains intact, with only a few losses, such as the chips on the rim, and some surface abrasion. The vivid white gloss that highlights the women’s skin and the shield is especially well preserved.


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Formulation of the quantitative laws of electrostatics and magnetostatics

Charles-Augustin de Coulomb established electricity as a mathematical science during the latter half of the 18th century. He transformed Priestley’s descriptive observations into the basic quantitative laws of electrostatics and magnetostatics. He also developed the mathematical theory of electric force and invented the torsion balance that was to be used in electricity experiments for the next 100 years. Coulomb used the balance to measure the force between magnetic poles and between electric charges at varying distances. In 1785 he announced his quantitative proof that electric and magnetic forces vary, like gravitation, inversely as the square of the distance (see above Fundamentals). Thus, according to Coulomb’s law, if the distance between two charged masses is doubled, the electric force between them is reduced to a fourth. (The English physicist Henry Cavendish, as well as John Robison of Scotland, had made quantitative determinations of this principle before Coulomb, but they had not published their work.)

The mathematicians Siméon-Denis Poisson of France and Carl Friedrich Gauss of Germany extended Coulomb’s work during the 18th and early 19th centuries. Poisson’s equation (published in 1813) and the law of charge conservation contain in two lines virtually all the laws of electrostatics. The theory of magnetostatics, which is the study of steady-state magnetic fields, also was developed from Coulomb’s law. Magnetostatics uses the concept of a magnetic potential analogous to the electric potential (i.e., magnetic poles are postulated with properties analogous to electric charges).

Michael Faraday built upon Priestley’s work and conducted an experiment that verified quite accurately the inverse square law. Faraday’s experiment involving the use of a metal ice pail and a gold-leaf electroscope was the first precise quantitative experiment on electric charge. In Faraday’s time, the gold-leaf electroscope was used to indicate the electric state of a body. This type of apparatus consists of two thin leaves of gold hanging from an insulated metal rod that is mounted inside a metal box. When the rod is charged, the leaves repel each other and the deflection indicates the size of the charge. Faraday began his experiment by charging a metal ball suspended on an insulating silk thread. He then connected the gold-leaf electroscope to a metal ice pail resting on an insulating block and lowered the charged ball into the pail. The electroscope reading increased as the ball was lowered into the pail and reached a steady value once the ball was within the pail. When the ball was withdrawn without touching the pail, the electroscope reading fell to zero. Yet when the ball touched the bottom of the pail, the reading remained at its steady value. On removal the ball was found to be completely discharged. Faraday concluded that the electric charge produced on the outside of the pail, when the ball was inside but not in contact with it, was exactly equal to the initial charge on the ball. He then inserted into the pail other objects, such as a set of concentric pails separated from one another with various insulating materials like sulfur. In each case, the electroscope reading was the same once the ball was completely within the pail. From this Faraday concluded that the total charge of the system was an invariable quantity equal to the initial charge of the ball. The present-day belief that conservation is a fundamental property of charge rests not only on the experiments of Franklin and Faraday but also on its complete agreement with all observations in electric engineering, quantum electrodynamics, and experimental electricity. With Faraday’s work, the theory of electrostatics was complete.


Vintage Canning Techniques Your Ancestors Used (But Are They Safe?)

Canning food in the modern world is easy. We have well-made jars, proven methods developed over a century and a half of trial and error, and the ability to consistently put up safe, nourishing and delicious food.

Even a century ago, canning was a well-established science, regardless of if you used Mason jars with zinc lids and rubber lids, or jars with glass lids and wire bails that locked down tight over a rubber ring. The end result was the same, even if the methods were quaint and old-fashioned today. But prior to our WWII-era metal bands and disposable lids, and prior to the old Lightning jars with wire bails or their competitors, and prior to the earliest Mason jars, there were other methods, and that’s what we are looking at today.

In 1858, John Landis Mason patented the basic screwtop canning jar. It used a zinc lid and a rubber band to provide an airtight seal, and with only minor modifications this method would remain unchanged until WWII. Mason revolutionized home canning with his simple invention, as it brought the reliability of consistently made canning jars, lids and rings into the public sphere for the first time. Prior to that, our ancestors had all manner of ways to put food up in glass and crockery jars.

In 1810, Nicolas Appert, a French inventor, worked out the idea of hermetically sealing food in jars after cooking it. His methods involved placing food in jars, corking it, sealing the cork with wax, wrapping the jar in cloth and then boiling it. While science tells us now that the boiling of the jar essentially pasteurized it, Appert was unaware of the scientific reasons that ensured his method worked, only that it in fact worked. He was the first to put up food in glass jars, and he thought it was the exclusion of air that preserved the food (he was half right the other half was in the boiling).

But prior to his efforts, people were still storing food in jars and crocks. The most common methods involved cooking food with a high sugar content or pickling them. In either case, the final product was placed in glass or crockery jars, and sealed in some form or another with glass, crockery, wooden or metal lids, wax, cloth or paper. Here we see the origins of canned food, but grossly lacking in the kind of processing that allows for safe, long-term storage. Such foods relied on their ingredients, being closed off from the air and stored in a cool dark place, and some of them are considered unsafe today.

The mid- to late-19 th century was a boomtime for canning jars and canning technology. Before the Mason jar, we would see “wax sealers,” which used a glass lid and ring of hot wax to provide an airtight seal. This technology is echoed by modern homesteaders who may still use wax to seal jars of jams and jellies. It should be cautioned that wax-sealing of any sort, with or without a lid, was not always successful when it was in vogue, and should not be practiced now it’s impossible to tell if you’ve gotten a good seal, and it’s easy to break the seal. I remember eating jams put up in wax-sealed jars by my grandmother, but I’d be hard-pressed to do it today.

Another common sort of jar was the “Lighting” or wire bail jar. Countless variations on this theme exist, ranging from the common sort we may know today to complex systems involving levers or even thumbscrews. All work on the same idea, though, of securely latching a glass lid over a rubber ring that has been sealed through boiling.

The harsh reality is until the 19 th century, canning really didn’t exist, and food storage in jars, bottles and crocks was as much hit and miss, as accepting the fact you were stuck with heavily brined or sugared food. Modern concepts of sanitation did not exist, and stored foods were at a greater risk of loss through spoilage.

The current Mason jar, with its on-time use metal lid and reusable metal rings, represents the ultimate in home glass jar canning, and should be embraced with great vigor, due to the low cost, ease of use and proven sanitary track record. If you have older shoulder-seal jars like the old blue Ball jars, or wire bail seal jars, those are best left for decoration or dry storage, and given a gentle and loving retirement.

If you are looking to understand and practice home canning as done by our ancestors, then applying modern sanitary methods and storage, combined with well-made modern storage containers can be rewarding, but outside of an emergency, such methods should really only be practiced for entertainment. An exception could be argued in favor of certain pickling techniques, but those exceed the scope of this article.

Hundreds of companies made thousands of variations of canning jars through WWII, and many still survive today. They are a fascinating glimpse into a time in our nation’s history when self-reliance and sufficiency was an important part of many American’s lifestyles, and the ability to “put up” food for the winter could mean the difference between life and death.


Storage Jar decorated with Mountain Goat

This vessel, known simply as "Storage Jar decorated with Mountain Goats,"  was created in the mid to late fourth century BCE. Specific dates for its creation range from 3800 to 3700 BCE. It was discovered in what is now Central Iran.  

The vessel is made from clay transformed into ceramic and painted with the image of a mountain goat. The time period is marked by its chaff-tempered pottery and the light geometric designs. The lines drawn framing the goat became more prevalent through the Chalcolithic period. The jar has several imperfections throughout its design including that of the irregular shape. These irregularities indicate the change in technology. They suggest that the pot was crafted either by hand with coils of clay or on the newly created potter's wheel. The piece is a common representation of the time featuring animals - specifically mountain goats, with long and massive horns. Other pieces include the vase pictured below which was discovered and dated at roughly the same time and location.

Note the similarities between the two with the detailed geometric designs and the stylization of the goat itself. The exact meaning behind the ibex is largely unknown, but it is the assumption that ancient peoples saw the large animal as a powerful symbol. 

Local Historical Context

Very little is known about the Chalcolithic period of Iran. The majority of information known contains a rather simple life in smaller villages. It seems that there is some trade with surrounding peoples including the trade of steatite, copper, and ceramics. As time continued past the Chalcolithic period, Central Iran soon became a central hub of trade in the region, their wares being spread across the world.  

World Historical Significance

Across the established world, patterns started to emerge. The motif of animals, such as this goat, along with the geometric designs give the impression that the cultures were in contact with each other through forms of trade. With the spread of these simple designs, the culture of central Iran was spread. Not only were the designs significant, but also the technology used. The innovation of the potter's wheel, which was a potential method utilized by the craftsmen, was a new tool an artisan's method. This new approach made the formation of fine vessels easier and more economical.


The Mason Jar, Reborn

In the mid-1970s, my parents fled the New Jersey suburbs to build a house in rural New Hampshire, where my mother tended a large vegetable and herb garden. The growing season in New Hampshire is spectacularly short—sometimes only eight weeks—but my mother tried to take full advantage of it, growing dill, thyme, sage, mint, rosemary, and at least six varieties of basil, as well as tomatoes, cucumbers, corn, squash, beans, peas, peppers, broccoli, chard, and zucchini.

She would harvest the herbs throughout the summer, tying small bundles together with twine and drying them along a clothesline that ran the length of the basement. The vegetable plants produced less regularly, but from mid-July onwards we could reliably eat fresh produce every evening, and by August we had a surplus. At that point my mother would begin canning what we couldn’t eat, storing the vividly colored contents in transparent Mason jars that would reappear throughout the fall and winter—like a bit of summer preserved in amber.

Food starts to degrade the moment it is harvested. Like other kinds of preservation—drying, curing, pickling, freezing—canning maintains foods against the natural processes of this decay. The two most common methods, water bath and pressure, are appropriate for different types of food. Highly acidic foods—like fruits, jams, and pickles—respond well to the water bath. Vegetables, meat, and poultry, however, need to be pressure canned, a process in which the contents are heated to more than 240 degrees Fahrenheit to destroy bacteria.

Integral to this process is the Mason jar, which was created in 1858 by John Landis Mason, a New Jersey native. The idea of “heat-based canning” emerged in 1806 and was popularized by Nicholas Appert, a French cook who had been inspired by the need to preserve foods for long periods during the Napoleonic wars. But, as Sue Shepard writes in her book Pickled, Potted, and Canned, the products of this technique were often compromised by imperfect seals: Appert originally used champagne bottles, which he secured with the improbable mixture of cheese and lime. He soon exchanged champagne bottles for glasses with wider necks, and by 1803 his canned goods were being successfully distributed to the French Navy. Mason’s design, which possessed a ribbed neck and a screw-on cap that created an airtight seal, helped to refine a canning process that had been prone to error. The transparency of the glass that Mason used also made the contents appealingly visible.

In the early 20th century, mass production made Mason jars ubiquitous in America. One of the most prolific manufacturers was the Ball Corporation. One often sees jars etched with this name, in lilting cursive, opposite an engraved cornucopia and measurement markers. Printed discreetly near the bottom is the label: “Made in U.S.A.” Particularly useful for people who lived in areas with short growing seasons, canning and Mason jars were integral elements of farming culture, where jams and pickles were judged and awarded prizes at fairs and festivals. In these contests, color and beauty were often scored—a glinting ruby red, for example, was a testament not only to the quality of the fruit but the integrity and sophistication of the labor that went into transforming this fruit into jam. Jams and pickles and various kinds of sauces were also exchanged as gifts, and vestiges of that culture remain in the jars of preserved goods people sometimes give each other at holidays.

Mason jars experienced a renaissance during World War II, when the U.S. government rationed food and encouraged people to grow their own. In the aftermath of the war, however, economic and industrial developments displaced canning as the primary form of food preservation. Large numbers of people began leaving farms for the city, refrigerators became ubiquitous, and canning was supplanted by freezing. As transportation systems improved, fresh fruits and vegetables became available year-round (even in New Hampshire), lessening the need for food preservation. Tin canning, based on Appert’s glass-canning technique and patented in 1810 by the Englishman Peter Durand, industrialized the food-preservation process, making its benefits available on a massive scale and at relatively cheap prices. (While millions of Americans were purchasing Mason jars during World War II, soldiers overseas were eating daily rations of tinned food.) In the early 20th century, the invention of the plastics bakelite and nylon paved the way for the billions of plastic containers used in contemporary industrial preservation.

My mother and aunt started canning in the 1960s and ‘70s, when the Mason jar experienced another resurgence. This time, it was as part of the back-to-the-land DIY movement, a reaction to the perception that both food and life were increasingly processed. People seeking a return to a more natural lifestyle filled their kitchens and cellars with goods preserved in Mason jars.

Half a century later, the Mason jar is having another moment. Thanks to writers like Michael Pollan, Dan Barber, and Alice Waters, many people are much more aware of the food that they’re eating and the high costs—environmental and economic—of transporting it to their plates, encouraging a return to locally grown produce and activities like canning. Whereas tinned food now connotes poverty, Mason jars, with their pleasing shape and transparency, suggest a kind of wholesome luxury.

The Mason jar’s resurgence is due, in part, to the variety of ways in which it can be repurposed. Google “Mason jar” and you’ll find numerous sites that evangelize its astonishing utility. Lists of potential applications include oil lanterns, soap dispensers, terrariums, drinking glasses, speakers, vases, planters, and snow globes, in addition to food and drink storage. It’s repeatedly praised for its reusability, its aesthetic appeal, and its purity: Mason jars aren’t mixed up with some of the more nefarious chemicals used to produce plastic.

It has, however, recently taken on a negative connotation of its own. In April of 2013, The Economist printed a brief piece about the gentrification of London, pinning its spread to the ubiquity of the Mason jar: “The frontier of where you can buy a cocktail in a jam jar is moving like German tanks through the Ardennes,” it declared, “from Shoreditch to Dalston Brixton to Peckham Bethnal Green to Hackney Wick.”

And in May of that same year, 7-Eleven made headlines with the announcement that it would be selling a line of Mason-jar Slurpee cups with mustache straws, making it possible to drink your Slurpee and be ironic about it, too. Gawker’s piece on the cups, titled “7-Eleven Serving Assholes Drinks in Mason Jars,” inspired more than 200 comments, many of which were exchanges about who uses Mason jars—hipsters, foodies, southerners, weed growers, rednecks—and who has the more rightful claim to them.

“Everyone I know who uses Mason jars is ‘foodie’ and ‘green,’” one commenter wrote, “so there's no way they would touch something like this.”

“Interesting…” began the next response. “Everyone I know who uses a Mason jar (for drinking purposes) is a redneck and only uses it to drink beer and/or tea.”

“That's why the hipsters and organic foodies are doing it,” responded another, “because it's ironic!”

That, in a nutshell, is why the Mason jar has become emblematic of gentrification: Holding a cocktail or a Slurpee, it’s removed from its original context—which is rooted in functionality—and made into an icon of ironic contrast. Used to serve a drink in Hackney Wick, the Mason jar becomes a vacant signifier. It’s meaningful in its evacuation of meaning—a far cry from delivering the pleasures of summer in the dead of winter, or ensuring that, in a time of need, there will still be enough.

This current incarnation of the Mason jar has a lot to do with the hunger for greater legitimacy: How can I be more real, and more unique in my realness? One of capitalism’s most enduring legacies has been persuading people that they can purchase a singular style. In some areas, like fashion, the effort to be unique has come full circle, so that the best way to be an individual is to dress with utter banality (hence the trend known as normcore). Mason jars—with their enticing aura of thrift, preservation, and personal labor—have become a potent signifier in this quest. Rather than ensuring against scarcity, however, Mason jars confirm the presence of abundance—and suggest that we’re rather fatigued by it.

When I was in college and graduate school, I was constantly attending dinner parties at which we drank cheap wine out of Mason jars, usually the small ones used for jams. My apartment, like those of most of my friends, was assembled from a hodgepodge of thrift-store finds, including a weathered daybed, a leather easy chair with a gaping hole in the back, and kitchenware that looked like it had seen 10 different households. I didn’t think anything of Mason-jar glasses then. It was just a part of being young and poor in the city. Now that I’m older, I find that I can pay decidedly un-thrifty prices to recapture a more minimalist time in my life. Mason jars suggest resistance to the mass production of food and culture they emphasize the values of self-sufficiency and community. 7-Eleven’s marketing strategy, however, demonstrates how easily resistance to commodification can be commoditized.

In leaving the suburbs and moving to the woods, my parents were making a self-conscious effort to define themselves in contrast to the suburban status quo. Yet living close to the land didn’t make them immune to the forces that complicate a relationship with it. The garden, built on poor soil because it was the only level area of the property, eventually went to seed. Money ebbed and flowed, but mostly ebbed. We started buying our vegetables from the nearest grocery store—still 45 minutes away—and resorting to the cheapest frozen and tinned produce we could find. It was easy to read the end of Eden in the food we were eating.


Watch the video: Kitchen Storage u0026 Containers u0026 Jars