About this artwork
The direct pull technique of pottery making is used by culturally interrelated Gur-speaking peoples such as the Kasena, Lela, Nuna, Nunuma, Sisala, and Winiama in Burkina Faso and the Gurensi, Nabdam, and Tellensi in Ghana, who are collectively called the Frafra. This vessel may be Frafra in origin. It was purchased in Burkina Faso but may have come from just across the border in northern Ghana, in the region occupied by the Frafra. Its shape—a round body with a tightly indrawn neck and a flared mouth—is common on both sides of the border. The vessel’s large size and narrow neck suggest that it may be a container for carrying or storing water, although its handsome embellishments may indicate a ritual use. Its surface has an almost metallic appearance, and its iconography includes a horse, lizard, and wavy and spiral lines. Horses are longstanding symbols of power and wealth in the region, dating to the fifteenth– and sixteenth-century invasions that heralded the establishment of the Mossi states.
—Revised from Kathleen Bickford Berzock, For Hearth and Altar, African Ceramics from the Keith Achepohl Collection (2005), pp. 78-79.
Currently Off View
- Arts of Africa
- Container, Possibly for Water
- Made 1900–1950
- Blackened terracotta
- 58.4 x 38.7 cm (23 x 15 1/4 in.)
- Gift of Keith Achepohl