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Bowl
Date: Early to mid-20th century
Medium: Ceramic
Dimensions: H x W x D: 20.5 x 39.4 x 39.4 cm (8 1/16 x 15 1/2 x 15 1/2 in.)
Credit Line: Museum purchase
Geography: Grassfields region, Cameroon
Object Number: 2000-12-7
Search Terms:
spider
Object is not currently on exhibit

African potters--primarily women--handbuild a variety of vessels that they embellish with beautiful colors, designs and motifs before firing them at low temperatures. Containers made for daily use hold water or serve as cooking utensils. They also make vessels to be used in special ceremonies or that become part of an assemblage of objects placed in a shrine. This bowl may have been used as a washing bowl. The spiders decorating the rim are associated with divination throughout the Grassfields region. They represent wisdom and are associated with the earth and the ancestors.

Elliptical bowl with a top register decorated with eight spiders, each separated by horizontal bands. Above them are a series of loops placed around the vessel's rim.

Eric Ghysels, Brussels, -- to 1990


Colette Ghysels, Brussels, 1990 to 2000


Artful Animals, National Museum of African Art, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C., July 1, 2009-July 25, 2010


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