Commemorative Container (Abusua Kuruwa)

A work made of terracotta and sacrificial material.

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  • A work made of terracotta and sacrificial material.

Date:

Late 19th/early 20th century

Artist:

Kwahu
Nkawkaw, Ghana
Coastal West Africa

About this artwork

From the 17th to the mid-20th century, the abusua kuruwa (literally, “family pot”) featured prominently in commemorative rituals for the nobility among the Asante and related peoples, including the Kwahu. This large, boldly embellished vessel takes the form of a storage container on which raised motifs—including snakes, a bird, and two male figures (one holding a rifle)—are applied. These had proverbial meanings or illustrated necessities, such as a chiefly entourage, that the deceased would require in the afterlife. A family pot was displayed during second burial celebrations and could be used on a shrine, as evidenced by this vessel’s crusty patina.

Currently Off View

Arts of Africa

Artist

Kwahu

Title

Commemorative Container (Abusua Kuruwa)

Origin

Ghana

Date

1875–1925

Medium

Terracotta and sacrificial material

Dimensions

36.8 x 52.1 cm (14 1/2 x 20 1/2 in.)

Credit Line

Gift of Keith Achepohl

Reference Number

2005.237

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 .

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