shallow, wide-flaring bowl with pointed bottom; undecorated interior; exterior decorated with incised curvilinear repeat pattern in red, yellow and white

Bowl, c. 1980-1988

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Bowls such as this are made on the plains north of the Sepik River by the Tshuosh (Sawos), and are hand built by the women using a coiling technique. After the pots have dried, the men decorate them, carving the bottom of the bowl into elaborate curvilinear patterns. Once fired, the bowls are painted with yellow, white, red, and black, enhancing the natural contrast between pigment and clay. Although heavily abstracted, the designs applied to these pots represent specific elements of the natural world. One recognizable shape is the "spirit face" image, a dynamic motif found eight times on this particular example. Despite their commonplace use, eating bowls such as this were always decorated, giving the vessels a spiritual charge.

Details
Title
Bowl
Role
Artist
Accession Number
98.107.1
Curator Approved

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shallow, wide-flaring bowl with pointed bottom; undecorated interior; exterior decorated with incised curvilinear repeat pattern in red, yellow and white