African designs, £9.99
Height: 15.000 cm
Diameter: 33.000 cm
Gift of N. Corkhill
AOA 1948.Af6.2-3, 5
Africa, Oceania, Americas
Pottery and dung vessels
Nuba, probably early 20th century
From Jebel Kadero, Sudan
Pottery bowls of animal dung and water are made by unmarried girls and form an important part of her trousseau. Shaped by hand, the pots are painted with a layer of gum mixed with a red earth slip and left to dry. Soot, obtained from the outside of a cooking pot, is later painted onto the outside of the pot and most of the inside leaving a thin band of red slip for a white creeper-like design to be applied.
The designs on pots are similar to those found on Nuba house walls and on elements of male body decoration. Feathers and lengths of grass are used to produce chevrons, arrows and other shapes.
Such vessels are very fragile as they are not fired and are not as strong as calabashes (gourds used for cooking) whose form they imitate. They are not used in food preparation but for storing dried foodstuffs. At the wedding ceremony they are filled with perfumes, flour and dried vegetables.
T. Phillips (ed.), Africa, the art of a continent (London, Royal Academy, 1995)
N. Barley, Smashing pots, feats of clay f (London, The British Museum Press, 1994)