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HOME : African & Tribal Art : Masterpieces of African Art : Cham ZoomorphicTerracotta Vessel
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Cham ZoomorphicTerracotta Vessel - DG.012 (LSO)
Origin: Nigeria
Circa: 19 th Century AD to 20 th Century AD
Dimensions: 19.75" (50.2cm) high x 8.5" (21.6cm) wide
Collection: African
Medium: Terra Cotta
Condition: Very Fine

Location: United States
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This striking object appears to have been made by the Longuda or Cham/Mwana people of Northern to Eastern Nigeria. The piece is ostensibly a vessel but had a super-secular function. It is also highly stylistically unusual. It is essentially an angular gourd shape with a round pedestal base, and a conical body narrowing to the neck. The head is funnel-shaped, with a wide-open mouth, high nostrils and almond-shaped, rimmed eyes. The tall ears and curved horns indicate that is represents a goat or similar animal. The surface is decorated with stippling, while the base third is plain with a series of small, rounded eminences.

These groups are defined primarily on their use of the Adamawa language group, and comparatively little is known of their ways of life. According to the sparse ethnographic data the current piece was an ininate (Cham) or kwandalowa (Longuda), a pseudovessel endowed with magical powers and used as a conduit for positive spiritual influence during healing. They are either anthropomorphic or zoomorphic, or linked to mythology or oral history.

This is a well-made and finished piece of African magical paraphernalia, and a worthy addition to any collection of Africana.

- (DG.012 (LSO))


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