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 vessel is covered with raised parallel ridges placed in semicircular patterns. Small incisions emphasize the ridges. The two small lug handles on this vessel suggest that the pot may have been suspended or they were used to secure a stopper in the mouth. Similar vessels were found at archaeological sites dating to the 10th century at Igbo Ukwu, Nigeria.
Narrow-mouthed bottle forms, while common among several prehistoric groups such as the D'Jenne and Bura peoples, are unusual in the historic West African pot inventory. The form survived among Igbo potters and is the format for their most sumptuously decorated vessels.
Spherical vessel with a small narrow neck and a natural clay color. There are two small lugs at the top. Most of the vessel is covered with a series of circular and semi-circular coils of clay marked by small vertical incisions. The bottom is plain.
Douglas Dawson Textiles & Ethnographic Arts, Chicago, acquired in Nigeria, 1999 to 2000
African Mosaic: Selections from the Permanent Collection, National Museum of African Art, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C., November 19, 2013-ongoing
African Mosaic: Celebrating a Decade of Collecting, National Museum of African Art, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C., November 19, 2010-November 13, 2013
Beautiful Bodies: Form and Decoration of African Pottery, National Museum of African Art, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C., May 6, 2001-January 6, 2002