Student Interpretation → Jennifer Formont

  • Lidded Vessel
  • Lidded Vessel
  • Lidded Vessel

Lidded Vessels

These vessels incorporate three important aspects of Zulu artistry: pottery, basketry, and beadwork, all of which are predominately produced by women. The ceramic pot is an ukhamba, used for serving and storing indigenous beer made from sorghum. Beer serves important secular and religious roles in Zulu culture as it is an essential element in social gatherings as well as in ritual offerings to ancestors. Incised plant and geometric designs decorate the beer containers. The lids, called the imbenge, of the pots are coil-woven out of grass and decorated with geometric patterns of beadwork. The deliberate placement of the beads and use of specific color schemes often indicate the work's regional or ethnic origins. Beadwork is widely practiced, and is one of the finest forms of artistic expression in Zulu culture. It is used for diverse forms of personal adornment that communicate aspects of individual status or character. Beads are also used for objects in spiritual contexts and are generally associated with ancestors.

Lidded Vessel

Beer pot with lid (ukhamba with imbenge)

Zulu People
South Africa
Lid for Beer Pot (imbenge)
20th Century
Fiber, glass beads
Gift of Rod McGalliard
1995.28.74

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