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HOME : African & Tribal Art : African Pottery : Djenne Terracotta Pyriform Vessel
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Djenne Terracotta Pyriform Vessel - PF.6283
Origin: Mali
Circa: 12 th Century AD to 14 th Century AD
Dimensions: 9" (22.9cm) high
Collection: African Art
Style: Djenne
Medium: Terracotta

Location: United States
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This beautiful ceramic vessel was created by a skillful artisan in the modern-day Republic of Mali. At the time of its creation the Empire of West African Mali was at its zenith. The famous chronicler Ibn Battuta, a Berber theologian from Tangier who spent a year in Mali, writes that he was overcome with amazement by the exorbitant wealth of the Mansa Musa court of Mali, whose grandeur at the time was equal only to that of the Mongol Empire. Jenne-jeno, a prospering city strategically located at the confluence of the rivers Niger and Bani, reaped the benefits of these two waterways. An accessible and plentiful gift of the rivers was ceramic grit, a material that was worked by local artisans in a skillful and sensitive fashion. The result of these efforts was the creation of terracotta pottery that is truly distinguished in the world of ceramic art. Here, we see a striking example of Djenne artistry in this handsome vase. With its pyriform body, slender neck, and slightly flaring mouth, the fine proportions of this vase truly please the eye. Our tactile senses are also stimulated by the feel of the vessel's smooth, highly burnished reddish- brown surface. Truly a sensory delight, this lovely vase connects us in a most spirited manner with an African empire whose wealth and splendor at one time were as legendary as we are beginning to discern. - (PF.6283)


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