Collection Artwork
ceremonial vessel
20th century
overall size: 14 1/4 x 15 1/2 x 15 1/2 in.
Gift of Bill and Gale Simmons
Burkina Faso, Africa

Object Label

The protruding spikes elevate this pot beyond the earthly realm of everyday use by discouraging frequent handling. They also indicate that a powerful spirit resides within. Honoring this protective spirit unites the family and larger community. This pot, specifically made for a shrine, is apotropaic in nature, meaning that it wards off witchcraft, misfortune, and illness. The Lobi believe that if women in their reproductive years make spiritually powerful pots, they risk infertility. Therefore, only post-menopausal women may construct such pots. While only women make Lobi ceramics, men assume ownership of the pots, each generation passing them from father to son.

From the exhibition: African Pots and Gender (November 14, 2009 – January 3, 2010)

Ongoing Research

Research on our collection is ongoing. If you have resources you’d like to share, please contact Associate Curator Rebecca McNamara.
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