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Vessel for Kwandalha Divination

Arts of Africa

This vessel was created for use in Longuda kwandalha healing divinations. After a ritual specialist determined the cause of a disease, the patient was given a newly modeled vessel, into which the disease was transferred. Such pots, which tend to embody the symptoms described, are remarkable for their highly expressive and imaginative forms.
MEDIUM Terracotta
DATES 20th century
DIMENSIONS 18 7/8 x 8 11/16 x 7 1/2 in. (48 x 22 x 19 cm)  (show scale)
COLLECTIONS Arts of Africa
CREDIT LINE Gift of Dr. and Mrs. Ernst Anspach, by exchange
CATALOGUE DESCRIPTION Hollow, egg-shaped terracotta vessel with a figurative head at the top of an elongated mouth. The body contains molded arms, a flute (?), belt, necklace, bumps (possibly indicative of an unattributed disease), navel and vulva added to the surface. The figure's arms rest on the belly of the vessel. The face has a large, ovoid mouth, two projecting half-circular ears, with round, flat ear plugs in each. A further ear plug is inserted above the mouth; another plug is missing from the lower lip. Eyes are formed in a molded, bisected coffee-bean shape. Two projecting nostrils sit above the eyes. The coiffure is composed of projecting tufts; several have been broken off. The surface has black firing marks, and is covered throughout by soil accretions. Condition: fair.
MUSEUM LOCATION This item is not on view
CAPTION Longuda. Vessel for Kwandalha Divination, 20th century. Terracotta , 18 7/8 x 8 11/16 x 7 1/2 in. (48 x 22 x 19 cm). Brooklyn Museum, Gift of Dr. and Mrs. Ernst Anspach, by exchange, 2011.2. Creative Commons-BY (Photo: Brooklyn Museum, 2011.2_PS6.jpg)
IMAGE overall, 2011.2_PS6.jpg. Brooklyn Museum photograph, 2011
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