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Storage Container for Grain or Liquids

Thin walls and a fine clay body characterize the ceramic storage containers from the Nyakyusa, who live in southern Tanzania, and the nearby Kisi. Graceful, symmetrically arranged arcs, ranging in color from orange to russet, decorate the upper part of many of these pots, while the area below is charcoal in color and sometimes, as in this example, textured with finely incised vertical lines. These containers have been described as used to ferment cassava, a process that eliminates natural toxins in this root that is a staple in many parts of Africa, as well as vessels for storing beer and water.

Nyakyusa peoples, Tanzania
Storage Container for Grain or Liquids
20th century
Clay, pigment
Diam. 17 in. (43.2 cm)
Sidney and Lois Eskenazi Museum of Art, Gift of William M. Itter in memory of Budd Stalnaker, 2007.122