Water storage vessel (jidaga)
- Bamana peoples
- early 20th–mid 20th century
Lizards are modeled in low relief on this large vessel. Among the Bamana, the lizard was considered a gne (family totem), which was believed to possess protective powers and, therefore, was not eaten.
Bamana potters are nummumusow, meaning "blacksmith women." Female potters married only male blacksmiths. Making pots for domestic and shrine use entailed a laborious and lengthy process, from digging clay out of the ground to building the vessel without a potter's wheel to firing the pots in the open air. Large decorated vessels, like this one, were placed in a residential courtyard, where visitors were received and offered cool water to drink.
Roslyn A. Walker, Label text, Arts of Africa, 2015.
- University of Iowa Museum of Art, Art & Life in Africa
Learn more about pottery in Africa.