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 party by transferring the illness to a pot in which it can be contained. Among the Cha and Mwona these ritual containers are called itinate and are made by men with unique skills and knowledge. Among the Longuda, however, they are called kwandalha and the specialists who make them are women.
With their swollen bulges, jagged scales, scabby patches, and sharp points, these containers give graphic form to the pain and discomfort of disease. The highly stylized human form of this receptacle is particularly evocative: its tripartite trunk, suggesting torso and arms, is elongated and scabby, and its animated head has an almost anguished expression, with wide upturned eyes and an open mouth. [See also 2005.269, 2005.279, and 2005.280]

—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

38.1 x 11.4 cm (15 x 4 1/2 in.)

Credit Line

Gift of Keith Achepohl

Reference Number

2005.281

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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