Vessel

11007983-2004_016_109_Cpa_ARC.tif

Title

Vessel

Keywords

Ceramic, container

Date

20th Century

Context

West Africa, Burkina Faso
Gurunsi, Nouna potter

Medium/Dimensions

Ceramic
23 1/2 x 22 in. (59.7 x 55.9 cm)

Object Number

2004.016.109

Description

In West African residential compounds, large water jars are placed prominently under a tree, or on the veranda of the home, where they are easily accessible for serving visitors a cup of cool water. As objects on public display, water jars are enhanced with incised lines, impressed textured surfaces and smooth burnished surfaces. Older examples will often have an animal shape --- snake, turtle, lizard, or as on this jar, crocodile --- molded onto their upper parts. Today, many African women prefer to cook with more durable metal containers. However, the preferred water jar is still made of clay because of its ability to keep liquids cool. Gurunsi potters use molds to form the lower portion of their water jars. These molds are old pots that have cracked and are no longer suitable for use, but have a nice shape. The potter flattens a ball of clay into a pancake shape, places it over the convex mold, and gently compresses the clay, working it outward to the edges of the mold. Once the pot has dried enough to support itself, it is removed from the mold. The walls are then built up with coils of clay and finished with a rim. Textured patterns are impressed into the lower portion of the vessel using a roulette of woven fibers or a corncob. Breaking up the surface creates a more resilient pot that will withstand the thermal shock of firing and years of constant use.

Credit Line

Anonymous gift

Exhibits/Publications

Spirited Vessels: Creation and Ritual in African Ceramics, Michael C. Carlos Museum, February 7 - April 11, 2004
MCCM Newsletter, December 2003 - February 2004.

Rights

© Michael C. Carlos Museum, Emory University. Photo by Bruce M. White, 2006.
This image is provided by the Michael C. Carlos Museum of Emory University, who retains all rights in it. This image is made available for limited non-commercial, educational, and personal use only, or for fair use as defined by United States law. For all other uses, please contact the Michael C. Carlos Museum Office of Collections Services at +1(404) 727-4282 or mccm.collections.services@emory.edu. Users must cite the author and source of the image as they would material from any printed work, but not in any way that implies endorsement of the user or the user's use of the image. Users may not remove any copyright, trademark, or other proprietary notices, including without limitation attribution information, credits, and copyright notices that have been placed on or near the image by the Museum. The Museum assumes no responsibility for royalties or fees claimed by the artist or third parties. The User agrees to indemnify and hold harmless Emory University, its Michael C. Carlos Museum, its agents, employees, faculty members, students and trustees from and against any and all claims, losses, actions, damages, expenses, and all other liabilities, including but not limited to attorney’s fees, directly or indirectly arising out of or resulting from its use of photographic images for which permission is granted hereunder.

On View

No

Citation

“Vessel,” Michael C. Carlos Museum Collections Online, accessed June 24, 2018, http://carlos.digitalscholarship.emory.edu/items/show/8083.

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