Collection Artwork
2000 1 26 pr w02
2000 1 26 pr w01
2000 1 26 pr w04
2000 1 26 pr w03
2000 1 26 pr w02
2000 1 26 pr w01
2000 1 26 pr w04
2000 1 26 pr w03
vessel for serving beer (Izikhamba)
n.d.
blackened terracotta
Gift of Bill and Gale Simmons
South Africa, Zulu, Africa
2000.1.26

Object Label

The decorative patterns on Zulu pots vary considerably. Some show pellets of clay pressed onto the surface, others flaunt incised triangles or arcs, and yet others have bands of hatching. The markings on the two pots seen here reflect scarification of the Zulu female body around the navel. The correlation between a woman’s womb and these beer pots shows the importance of beer as sustenance in the culture, just as a woman’s womb provides sustenance for her child.

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 Mellon Collections Curator Rebecca McNamara.

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African Pots and Gender
Exhibition
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