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African Art History

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Essay title: African Art History


Artefact Review

f African art we had the opportunity to study at the Manitoba Museum the ones with the most impact are the ceramic pieces from West Africa. One white ceramic pot with unblended coil neck, and two brown pots; one with a large shoulder and the other with a small shoulder leading to a rounded lip.

The small white pot is a simply crafted coiled vessel, built to fit in the hand most probably to be used for drinking. The white colour of the pot may be from the type of clay, Kaolin, or a white slip covering the surface. The darkening of the surface is carbon deposit, a result of the firing process that adds a level of interest to the piece. The white and the black are a dynamic visual combination and intensify scrutiny of the piece. The heart shaped, smooth bottom contrasts sharply with the coiled neck that provides grip as well as a surface of interest to the hand. Subtle incised decoration on the bulb alludes to a sense of motion or action. Though this is a simple daily use piece, its small size and interesting use of texture, invites touch. A cup is an intimate vessel, coming into contact with the hand and the mouth, it contains sustenance and is often, so part of the daily ritual as to be overlooked as a work of art.

The second pot, a storage vessel, is larger. A narrow bottomed piece that widens into a large mouthed pot with a beautifully articulated and embellished shoulder and lip, is an beautiful example of utilitarian ware. The decorative elements surrounding the pot along the elongated lip are technically precise and create a boundary between the interior and the exterior of the pot. The widest part of the pot at the swelling separating the upper half and the lower half is incised with diamond shapes, while the area beneath is decorated with cord marks. The graceful proportions of this pot coupled with the clearly defined sections allow for a

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