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Water Container

A work made of terracotta.

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  • A work made of terracotta.

Date:

Early/mid–20th century

Artist:

Nupe
Nigeria
Coastal West Africa

About this artwork

Nupe potters use a convex-mold technique to form the base of round-bottomed vessels. In this method they hammer a flat disk of clay over the top of a mold, usually a fired pot, until achieving the desired shape. They then finish the piece with coils if so desired. This spherical water container illustrates the myriad, complex variations on forms and linear embellishments that Nupe potters have pioneered.
On this example, the gently slopping lower half transitions into a softly rounded top and terminates in a short rim. Lines defining horizontal bands of various widths encircle the container from top to bottom. Closely spaced diagonal lines articulate the wider of these and are periodically interrupted by small areas of burnishing, some of which are framed by rainbows of arching lines, creating resting points for the eye. Highly burnished bands, one at the vessel’s waist and one midway between the waist and neck, provide welcome breaks in the exhaustive patterning, and a quickly scrawled swagging line adds unexpected visual interest. [See also 2012.500].

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Arts of Africa

Culture

Nupe

Title

Water Container

Origin

Nigeria

Date

1900–1975

Medium

Terracotta

Dimensions

31.8 x 38.1 cm (12 1/2 x 15 in.)

Credit Line

Gift of Keith Achepohl

Reference Number

2012.499

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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