Pots and Vessels
As with everything that is African, pots and vessels play their own special part in each and everyday life within the community. Whether the purpose is to be used as simple cooking pot or eating bowl to the more elaborate vessels that are used for the powers of divination, inauguration, or welcoming pots each item has a very significant place in African tradition.
A varied array of materials are used to create pots and vessels, some of these include wood, clay, terracotta, bronze, gourdes (a large fruit with a hard skin) and also raffia (plant fibre) when it comes to basketwork vessels/containers.
Gourdes being very light, are widely used through out Africa for the purpose of water carrying and can be very highly decorated with either painted on designs or cowrie shells and leather straps with which to carry them with.
Some of the more elaborately carved and decorated vessels include the wooden pots of various sizes, that are used for Ceremonial Initiations, the purpose of Oracle Divination (Mouse Oracle), Offering Pots (food sharing), Ceremonial Drinking (Palm Wine) Cups to Tukula boxes that are used simply to house Tukula powder for decoration thing or keeping safe jewellery and trinkets.
From the everyday cooking and drinking pots and vessels to those used for and by the more higher ranking tribal members for ceremonial rituals, they all have their special purpose and place in tribal day to day living.
This bowl has the zig-zag incised carving around the entire bowl symbolizing the 'flow of water' in Dogon culture. Protruding triangular shaped handles on either side of this bowl give this item of everyday tribal use a lovely feel.
A truly fascinating and exquisite Baule Diviners Oracle Pot "Gbekre-Se" from Sakassou Ivory Coast. This pot is beautifully styled, depicting two small mask representations on either side of chamber an elevated figure to the rear.
On becoming initiated into the secrets of the profession, the diviner is provided with his own mouse oracle (gbekre) and may establish an independent practice. The person who is consulting the oracle places a forefinger on the container's upper rim, invokes the gbekre, and asks it the questions he or she would like answered.
Hogon are the high priests of the cult of Lebe, the first Dogon ancestor to die, whose body was miraculously transformed into a snake after his death.
This prestigious pot is used for the purpose of weddings and no other!! On the day of a marriage ceremony the pot will be taken from the Hogon's hut of where the ceremonial pieces are kept, unwrapped from the cloth it it is kept in and taken into the village opening where the ceremony will take place.
Such works have been described as "aduno koro," an "ark of the world," meant to represent the mythic ark sent by Amma to reorganize and populate the world. The "aduno koro" displays a wealth of imagery relating to the Dogon account of genesis.
An exquisite and huge Dogon village healing pot collected from a village near Mopti. This pot with the warrior on the lid is the village healing pot and is to treat the villagers who became sick with herbal medicines which were made within the pot and then given to the patient whilst calling upon the ancestors to help.
An unusual Dogon ceremonial mortar, not a usual millet mortar but more for ceremonial use by the Hogon for when blessing pieces, in doing this it consists of throwing wet millet on figures which are kept / being stored in his hut under his guard in a small room which only he is allowed
A lovely styled Turkana container which would have been used for storing and carrying liquids and the likes of honey. This is made from an animal skin and has a wooden stopper
This is a nicely styled Turkana milking jug from the Turkana tribe of Kenya. This type of African artefact is not one of a ritual nature but an item that would be of everyday use
This is a very old and large Turkana pot, possibly used for crushing millet or mixing food for a family meal.
The lidded Oromo Chico milk container is made from vegetable fibres and supported with leather straps. Inside this jug, there is an old black patina encrusted which may be from a combination of materials used to make the jug waterproof.