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African Potteryc - Traditional Arts of the Sub-Saharan Region

One of Africa's earliest and most universal forms of material culture, pottery is made from local clay sources by specialist potters, usually women, and used to store grain and water, prepare food, dye fabrics and brew beer.

Fine-grained clay, dried in the sun to break up the lumps and sifted to remove rocks and sticks, is moistened and coiled into the desired shape, although in some areas a simple wheel is used. The pots are dried and allowed to accumulate for firing. Often as many as 1000 pots are fired together in an open bonfire, firing grate or permanent kiln packed with kindling and grasses. The finished pots are blackened with wood chips or glazed with palm oil, dung or plant resin to waterproof and decorate them.

Pottery has been made by the Ababemba people for generations. It is usually made from clay collected from river banks. Pottery vessels keep the water within very cool. The water is drawn from the calabash using a traditional cup called a 'Ulukombo'.

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