Turkana Pot

  • Tribe: Turkana
  • Origin: North West Kenya
  • Approx Age: Early to Mid 20th Century
  • Materials: Wood
  • Dimensions cm: 15 Tall x 22 Wide
  • Ref. Number: 0260

This is a very old and large Turkana pot, possibly used for crushing millet or mixing food for a family meal. It really does show strong evidence of real use and a fair bit of age, we estimate mid 20th century but could be much older as we do not know how long the previous owner had it for as this was not an item we collected from a village ourselves.

Turkana pot container

The Turkana are nomadic pastoralists who live in the desert regions of northwestern Kenya. Turkana tribe is part of the Nilotic tribes and constitutes the second largest pastoralist community in Kenya after the Maasais. The Turkana tribe originally came from the Karamojong region of northeastern Uganda. Turkana oral traditions purport that they arrived in Kenya while pursuing an unruly bull. The land they occupy is harsh and very dry. The Turkanas were, therefore, less affected by colonialism than other tribes because the British saw little value in their land.

turkana Dancers
The Turkana live in small households consisting of a man, his wives, their children and possibly some dependent women. This social unit is referred to as an awi. Household size varies considerably according to wealth, but averages about 20-25 people. All livestock are “owned” by the male head of the household, but within the awi they are allocated to women. The number of animals allocated depends upon a woman’s status within the family and the number of children which must be fed. Women milk those animals which are allocated to them; the offspring of these livestock will be the basis of their sons’ future herds.