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Creator Nationality: African
Creator Name-CRT: Zulu, South Africa
Title: Pot (Uhkamba)
View: Full View
Creation Start Date: 1900
Creation End Date: 2000
Creation Date: 20th century
Creation Place: South Africa, Africa
Object Type: Decorative Arts and Utilitarian Objects
Classification Term: Container
Materials and Techniques: clay
Dimensions: Height: 10 1/2"; width: 13 3/4"; diameter: 42 1/4"
Description: Spherical clay storage pot with amasumpa (wart) motifs on shoulder; small, flat base with outward flared walls to round body; wall curves inward at shoulder to round mouth at top; no lip or rim; three spaced amasumpa motifs on shoulder, each a six row chevron; shiny black surface worn.
AMICA Contributor: Brooklyn Children's Museum
Owner Location: Brooklyn, New York, USA
ID Number: 2001.1.73
Credit Line: Gift of an anonymous donor, 2001
Context: Sorghum beer is an alcoholic drink and a nutritious food among the Zulu that assures domestic hospitality and social harmony, and commemorates the ancestors. Ukhamba, beer drinking and storage pots, are one of many shapes and sizes made by specialized female potters (other pots are made for food, milk, beer production, cooking and serving food). Potters sell their wares to neighbors.
Clay for the pots is collected, allowed to dry, then finely ground and mixed with water to the proper consistency. The potter rolls the clay into long cylinders and forms a flat, coiled base. The sides are coiled up, then thinned and smoothed with the hands and a gourd or plastic scraper. Some pots have incised geometric decoration. Older ukhamba may have "amasumpa" (warts), pellets of clay added to surface or pushed out from the inside in geometric patterns. Amasumpa are thought to be derived from old scarification patterns. The pots are fired in an open pit with wood or cow dung. The shiny black surface is attained by a second firing and polishing with fat. The black surface also shows respect for the ancestral spirits thought to partake of the beer with the family. Woven fiber lids cover the pots to protect beer from dust and insects.
AMICA ID: BCM_.2001.1.73
AMICA Library Year: 2003
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