Spirit & Tradition: Vessels from Africa

Dr. Ayman El-Mohandes Collection

May 10, 2016 - June 12, 2016

Clay vessel from Southeast Nigeria.


Spirit & Tradition explores the versatility of one of the oldest forms of art, pottery. This exhibition acquaints the audience with the techniques used to create traditional ceramic vessels and their purpose within specific African cultures.

The ubiquitous presence of pottery throughout African traditional societies and village life demonstrates the remarkable versatility of clay in a manifold of useful objects of unending formal invention. Although pottery’s function is primarily utilitarian; it can also hold ceremonial and economic value. Domestically, pottery is utilized for cooking, storage of wine and water, and bathing purposes; however, ceremonial vessels can be seen in shrines and divination ceremonies, as well as sold and bartered for supplies in the town’s market.

In most cases, pottery, a sacred art, is produced by women and its techniques and symbols associated are exclusively passed down through oral tradition.