by Bernard K. Means, Director of the Virtual Curation Laboratory
Today’s animation is a mocha ware vessel from New York. It was scanned at the New York State Museum (NYSM) in July 2014. The NYSM’s Susan Winchell-Sweeney provides us with the following information:
This bowl was recovered from the Sullivan Street site, bounded by McDougal, Sullivan, Thompson and West 3rd Streets and Washington Square Park in New York City, NY. Approximately 200,000 artifacts were recovered from the site. One important domestic assemblage illustrates the upper middle-class lifestyle of wealthy Dr. Robson whose house faced Washington Square; It is from Dr. Robson’s assemblage of household ceramics, an example of “every day” dishes, to which this mocha ware bowl is attributed. Robson is thought to be the prototype of Dr. Roper, one of the protagonists in the novel “Washington Square” (later made into the play and film, “The Heiress”).
The dendritic pattern clearly visible on this mocha ware bowl 3D animation is created by releasing drops of “mocha tea” solution containing urine and tobacco juice onto the wet clay-slipped surface of a ceramic vessel before firing. The design spreads instantly when the acid solution comes into contact with the wet clay slip.