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Beer Vessel

Culture Tumbuka
Title Beer Vessel
Date 20th century
Medium Clay, pigment, and and graphite
Dimensions Object: 16 1/2 × 20 in. (41.9 × 50.8 cm)
Overall: 16 1/2 × 20 in. (41.9 × 50.8 cm)
Credit Line Gift of William M. Itter, Eskenazi Museum of Art, Indiana University
Accession Number 2009.72

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About this Work

Marvelous contrasts of color and texture make this beer vessel visually exciting: the smooth, shiny charcoal stripes complement the roughly incised pinkish ones. The Tumbuka are one of the several peoples in eastern and southern Africa who create a dark glossy effect on their ceramics by burnishing graphite into the leather-hard clay before a pot is fired. In addition to the surface decoration, the pot’s form is also noteworthy: the successful building of the flat, broad shoulders of the vessel indicate a potter who is the master of her medium.

Provenance research is ongoing for this and many other items in the Eskenazi Museum of Art permanent collection. For more information about the provenance of this artwork, please contact the department curator with specific questions.

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"Beer Vessel | Collections Online." Collections Online. Sidney and Lois Eskenazi Museum of Art, Indiana University, 2024.