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Tiki mugs are ceramic drinkware originating in mid-century American tiki bars and tropical themed restaurants, believed to have been pioneered by Don the Beachcomber. The term "Tiki mugs" is a generic, blanket term for sculptural drink ware that depict imagery from Melanesia, Micronesia or Polynesia, and more recently anything tropical or surfing-related.
Originally created as both signature and marketing tools to hold the exotic libations, the 1960s also saw the ceramic craft market following suit by releasing ceramic tiki mug molds for the hobbyist to customize. These original mugs, whether related to a location or made by the hobbyist, also known as the vintage mugs, once found in abundance on the dusty shelves of junk shops in the 1980s and 90s, became a sought after item for those who were responsible for the revival of interest in the heyday of places like Don the Beachcomber and Trader Vic's. The vintage tiki mug gets an insightful overview with plenty of photos in Duke Cater's Tiki Quest.
Though hobbyists and ceramic artists, in a small capacity, have continued to make these mugs at home, and larger manufacturers have mass-produced restaurant and bar promotional souvenirs since the 1960s, it was artist and carver Bosko, starting to create his own based on his style of design, and the "tiki revival" of the 1990s that sparked the tiki mug as a new art form. Following suit shortly thereafter was a father and son ceramics team, blending a long history of ceramic crafting and highly developed skills at glaze finishes and high fire work, who started making tiki mugs under the name Munktiki. From that point on, every year a few more tiki revivalists get into the craft, resulting in a new art scene that produces a large variety of interpretation of what "tiki mug" means.
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Many tiki mug collectors divide their collections into the following manufacturers or styles:
- Bucket Mug
- Coconut Mug
- Fu Manchu Mug
- Glassware (Glass tumblers, stemware, etc.)
- Head Hunter Mug
- Hula Girl or Wahine Mug
- Moai Mug
- Hawaiian Ku or Lono Mug
- Maori Mug
- Marquesan Mug
- Rarotongan Mug
- Orientalia Mug
- Pineapple Mug
- Pirate Mug
- Rum Barrel Mug
- Scorpion or Hula Girl Bowl
- Skull Mug
- Monkey Mug
- Surfer Mug
- Tiki Mug
- Volcano Bowl
- Volcano Insert
- Other Bowl
- Other Mug
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Tiki mug.|
- Carter, Duke Carter (August 2003). Tiki Quest. Pegboard Press. ISBN 0-9743283-0-8.
- Kirsten, Sven A. (2003). The Book of Tiki. Taschen. ISBN 3-8228-2433-X.
- Strongman, Jay (2008). Tiki Mugs: Cult Artifacts of Polynesian Pop. Korero. ISBN 978-0-9553398-1-3.
- Teitelbaum, James (2003). Tiki Road Trip. Santa Monica Press. ISBN 978-1595800190.