Double Altar Vessel

A work made of terracotta.

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  • A work made of terracotta.

Date:

Early/mid–20th century

Artist:

Gur-speaking peoples, possibly Lobi
Burkina Faso
Northern Africa and the Sahel

About this artwork

The Lobi make double pots to aid in the treatment of ailing twins. The birth of twins is considered a blessing, and when they become ill it is diagnosed as a supernatural concern that must be addressed to the protective spirit of the father’s family. The relatives commission a double pot, which is placed on the father’s alar and contains a specially brewed medicine that is used to bathe the twins. According to Klaus Schneider, who has conducted an extensive study of Lobi pottery, double pots are always made with rounded bottoms and without figural embellishment. This double vessel has a flat bottom and flat lids, and is embellished with a male figure on one pot and a female figure on the other, suggesting that it may come from a closely related, but stylistically independent, tradition.

–Revised from Kathleen Bickford Berzock, For Hearth and Altar, African Ceramics from the Keith Achepohl Collection (2005), p. 75.

Currently Off View

Arts of Africa

Artist

Gur

Title

Double Altar Vessel

Origin

Burkina Faso

Date

1900–1975

Medium

Terracotta

Dimensions

25.4 × 40.6 cm (10 × 16 in.)

Credit Line

Gift of Keith Achepohl

Reference Number

2006.744

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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