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About This Artwork
Bottle (Ensumbi), Mid–/late 20th century
27.9 x 17.2 cm (11 x 6 3/4 in.)
Gift of Keith Achepohl, 2003.382
Arts of Africa and the Americas
Not on Display
Delicate, gourd-shaped bottles like this one demonstrate a sensitive approach to form, proportion, and decoration. Writing in the 1950s, Margaret Trowell stated that such works were made in Uganda among several related cultures, but were the specialty of the Nyoro, Toro, and Ganda. Among these groups such finely crafted pottery has long been the province of men. This bottle is coil built with extremely thin walls, much like those of gourds, and is colored a dark brownish black either by smoking, as was likely here, or by rubbing with graphite. This bottle was embellished with precisely placed roulette patterns of small dots. In the past, such textured ornamentation might have been accentuated by rubbing it with white or red clay. [See also 2000.383 and 2003.384].
—Revised from Kathleen Bickford Berzock, For Hearth and Altar, African Ceramics from the Keith Achepohl Collection (2005), pp. 170-171.
Art Institute of Chicago, For Hearth and Altar: African Ceramics from the Keith Achepohl Collection, Dec. 3, 2005–Feb. 20, 2006, cat. 109.
Kathleen Bickford Berzock, For Hearth and Altar: African Ceramics from the Keith Achepohl Collection (The Art Institute and Yale University Press, 2005), pp. 170-171.
Douglas Dawson Gallery, Chicago, Ill., by 2001; sold to Keith Achepohl, Iowa City, Iowa, 2001; given to the Art Institute, 2003