You can buy Tiki mugs from Love Tiki, but how did they come about? Tiki Mug History. Tiki Mugs are ceramic drinkware originating in mid-century American tiki bars and tropical themed restaurants. The term “Tiki mugs” is a generic term for sculptural drink-ware that depict imagery from Polynesia, Micronesia or Melanesia, and of more recent is also used to describe these mugs depicting anything tropical, pirates, skulls, mermaids, Buddha, wahines, surf or other images or themes connected to the escapism and cultures those bars draw inspiration from and conjure.
Originally being created as both signature and marketing tool to hold the exotic libations, the 1960s (a pivotal era in Tiki mug history) 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.
Though hobbyists and ceramic artists, in a small capacity, have continued to make these mugs at home, strengthening the Tiki mug history, 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 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.
Tiki Mug History – Mini Gallery
Click on an image to view the Tiki Mug in our store or browse all Tiki Mugs.