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A work made of terracotta and pigment.

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  • A work made of terracotta and pigment.


Mid–/late 20th century


Kenya, Sudan, or Uganda
Eastern and Southern Africa

About this artwork

Ancient roulette-decorated pottery, dating as early as A.D. 800, has been found in the Great Lakes Region of eastern Africa. Today, roulette work is still the most common form of pottery decoration in the region. Large containers such as this one began to appear on the Western art market in 2001 and are sometimes identified as created by the Luo. As a group these vessels have gracefully undulating shapes that move easily from a wide mouth to a slightly more narrow neck, bowing out again at the middle and then gradually narrowing to a small, rounded base. The containers are covered with a richly textured herringbone pattern of careful roulette work crisply applied in bands. This textured surface is offset at the shoulders and neck by patterns of highly burnished ribbons and alternating triangles tinted with brown and dark red slip. The great similarities in shape, proportion, and embellishment of these vessels make it likely that they were produced within the same localized community of potters. This sizable example is believed to come from Sudan, which is not part of the Luo heartland. Luo potters in Kenya, however, do create containers of similar shape, although with more narrow necks, as do the Vuma of Uganda. They generally employ this type for storing or brewing beer.


Currently Off View


Arts of Africa




Kenya (Object made in)

Date  Dates are not always precisely known, but the Art Institute strives to present this information as consistently and legibly as possible. Dates may be represented as a range that spans decades, centuries, dynasties, or periods and may include qualifiers such as c. (circa) or BCE.

Made 1950–1999


Terracotta and pigment


68.6 × 57.2 cm (27 × 22 1/2 in.)

Credit Line

Gift of Keith Achepohl

Reference Number


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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