Skip navigation

Object Name: Snake jug
Date: 1871
Related People:
Medium: Salt-glazed stoneware
Dimensions: Overall: 12 1/4 x 11 1/2 in. ( 31.1 x 29.2 cm )
Place made: North America, United States, Anna
Description: Bulbous salt-glazed stoneware jug decorated with applied squirming snakes with human faces, each representing different members of the Boss Tweed Ring with the head of Thomas Nast on the jug neck above the others; political sarcasms are hand inscribed all over; stopper is composed of a coiled snake.
Credit Line: Gift of Mrs. Thomas Nast
Object Number: 1906.6ab
Send to a Friend
Inscribed: Inscribed in rectangle near base: "From, / Kirkpatrick, / Anna Ills / Th. Nast NY"

Gallery Label:

The swirling mass of snakes and heads on this jug represents the Boss Tweed ring, a notoriously corrupt group of New York City politicians. The jug was created as a thank you gift for Thomas Nast, a renowned political cartoonist of the 1860s and '70s. Nast had used his cartoons to attack Tweed and his henchmen, who controlled the political machine known as Tammany Hall. Tweed is the bearded head without glasses, and most of the other heads represent his associates.