image for Jar
Label Text
This large ovoid vessel was handbuilt by a Chewa woman potter and fired at a low temperature. She decorated it by splashing a vegetable decoction on the body immediately after firing, resulting in an aesthetically vibrant surface. The dark spots on the surface are caused by a reduced oxygen atmosphere in the kiln during firing. Although created accidentally, they add to the pot's aesthetic effectiveness.
These vessels are typical of pottery forms found throughout Africa that function as containers for foodstuffs. Chewa women keep vessels of this type near the cooking area. They use them to store locally brewed maize beer, kuchasu, which is consumed before traditional ceremonies of the Gule Wamkulu (Great Dance) performed at funerals and initiations.
Ovoid shaped vessel with rim made of fired clay. Cream colored, brownish colored pigment applied vertically top to bottom around the entire pot.
Laurel Birch de Aguilar [Faulkner], collected in Lilongwe, Malawi, ca. 1985-1986
Affrica Gallery, Washington, D.C., 1986 to 1987
Published References
Mellor, S. 2007. From Delicious to Not Quite Right: Subtleties in Discerning the Authenticity of African Art. Objects Specialty Group Postprints, Volume 14 CD. Washington, DC: American Institute for Conservation of Historic and Artistic Works. p.13.
National Museum of African Art. 1999. Selected Works from the Collection of the National Museum of African Art. Washington, D.C.: National Museum of African Art, Smithsonian Institution, p. 172, no. 127.
Credit Line
Museum purchase
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National Museum of African Art Collection
ca. 1985
Object number
Chewa artist
Lilongwe region, Malawi
Ceramic, resin
W x D: 63.5 x 63.5 cm (25 x 25 in.)
National Museum of African Art