Container for Ritual Healing (Itinate or Kwandalowa)

A work made of terracotta.

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  • A work made of terracotta.

Date:

Mid–20th century

Artist:

Cham, Mwona, or Longuda
Nigeria
Coastal West Africa

About this artwork

The closely related Cham and Mwona and their eastern neighbors the Longuda use pottery in rituals intended to protect against and treat spirit-inflicted maladies, in part by transferring the illness to a pot in which it can be contained. A diviner prescribes a particular kind of vessel and a potter makes it, first brining the unformed clay into contact with the patient to begin the process of transferring the illness to the raw material. When the pot is ready, the diviner activates it by applying libations. Once the illness is cured, the container is discarded well away from the community.
With their swollen bulges, jagged scales, scabby patches, and sharp points, these containers give graphic form to the pain and discomfort of disease. While their basic forms are often repeated, their uses may vary. This container was reportedly used to alleviate headaches. [See also 2005.269, 2005.279, and 2005.281]

—Revised from Kathleen Bickford Berzock, For Hearth and Altar, African Ceramics from the Keith Achepohl Collection (2005), pp. 132-133.

Currently Off View

Arts of Africa

Artist

Cham

Title

Container for Ritual Healing (Itinate or Kwandalowa)

Origin

Nigeria

Date

1925–1975

Medium

Terracotta

Dimensions

16.5 x 16.5 cm (6 1/2 x 6 1/2 in.)

Credit Line

Gift of Keith Achepohl

Reference Number

2005.280

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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