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Vessel for Serving Beer

A work made of blackened terracotta.

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  • A work made of blackened terracotta.

Date:

1940/1950

Artist:

Northern Nguni, probably Zulu
South Africa
Eastern and Southern Africa

About this artwork

The Zulu consider sorghum beer (utshwala) to be the food of ancestors. Because ancestors are drawn to quiet, dark spaces, vessels for serving beer are blackened to signify their ancestral association and to create an environment that is more accessible to ancestors. Serving beer to family and guests is a meaningful gesture of hospitality and spiritual connection that is enhanced by the use of beautiful containers. A variety of textured patterns ornament beer vessels and stand in strong contrast to their highly burnished surfaces.

Currently Off View

Arts of Africa

Culture

Northern Nguni

Title

Vessel for Serving Beer

Origin

South Africa

Date

1940–1950

Medium

Blackened terracotta

Dimensions

22.5 x 27.9 cm (8 7/8 x 11 in.)

Credit Line

African and Amerindian Art Purchase Fund

Reference Number

1994.316

Extended information about this artwork

Object information is a work in progress and may be updated as new research findings emerge. To help improve this record, please email . Information about image downloads and licensing is available here.

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