The Mug

Personal Selection:

The object that I chose is a mug. A mug is something that I use everyday to drink coffee out of in the morning. Most mugs today are made of materials such as earthenware and porcelain.


Ancient mugs were usually carved in wood or bone, or shaped of clay. The very first mug was carved from bone and dated back to 10000 BCE. The word “mug” used to indicate a picture of prisoner or person’s head. In the first coffee shop, Kiva Han, which opened in Constantinople in 1475, wooden mugs were used. Eventually porcelain, invented in China around 600 A.D., and other ceramics became one of the preferred materials for mugs. In 18th century, drinking vessels were called “mug” because it has the same shape with people’s head. There is no exact record as to when people started referring to it as “coffee mug”.


A mug is typically used for hot drinks such as coffee, hot chocolate, tea, and soup. Many people everyday use mugs to drink or eat out of. Mugs hold more liquid than most cups do. Not only are mugs used to drink and eat out of, they are used for a collectors item. Bob Thomson, who began collecting mugs in 1995, is the current record holder, with a grand total of 6,352 as of 2006.


The mug can be used by many people of all ages. The mug may be hard to use if one is too weak to hold something with weight.


There are two ways to create mugs; handcrafted mug and mass manufacturer. Handcrafted mugs are spun on a wheel using clay, put in the kiln to harden, decorated and finally put back in the kiln to finalize the decoration. Mass manufactured mugs are created through molds in plastic or plaster. The molds are hardened in the kiln, decorated, then baked in the kiln again.


A mug often has a handle which communicates it needs to be held. The open hole in the middle conveys that it is meant to be filled with something in order to perform its purpose.