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Catalog Data

Kabyle artist  Search this
Ceramic, pigment
H x W x D: 50 x 25.5 x 15.4 cm (19 11/16 x 10 1/16 x 6 1/16 in.)
Tizi Ouzou, Bejaia, Bouira or Boumerdes Province, Algeria
19th century
Label Text:
The inhabitants of the mountainous Kabyle region along the Mediterranean coast in northeastern Algeria are farmers primarily. They are also superb artists noted for their jewelry, textiles, mats, basketry, pottery and house murals.
In North Africa, wheel-thrown pottery, which is made by men, dates from the 7th century B.C. when the Phoenicians introduced the potter's wheel to the Algerian coast. Handbuilt pottery, which is made by women, is an older, probably indigenous tradition that dates back 2000 years before the birth of Christ.
To this day, Kabyle women coil and decorate pottery with beautiful, geometric designs for their own household use and for sale. Kabyle women handbuild vessels of various sizes and shapes for holding water, milk and oil, for cooking and eating food and for making oil lamps.
This vessel with the head of an animal (possibly a camel) may have been made for visiting foreigners.
Vessel with an ovoid shaped body and a slightly flared base, tall narrow neck, a narrow handle that curves upward and the head of an animal, possibly a cat, protruding to the other side of the base at the base of the neck. The yellowish colored body is covered with red and geometric designs--black and white dots, triangles and diamond shapes.
Michael Graham-Stewart, London, -- to 1993
Exhibition History:
General Exhibition, National Museum of African Art, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C., October 9, 2019–ongoing
Ceramics at the National Museum of African Art 3rd level Pots, National Museum of African Art, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C., January 8, 1998 to the present
Published References:
Moffett, Dana and Stephen P. Mellor. 2003. The Curator-Conservator Collaboration: Remembering Roy Sieber." African Arts 36 (2), pp. 54-55, no. 20 (detail).
geometric motif  Search this
camel  Search this
Credit Line:
Museum purchase
Object number:
See more items in:
National Museum of African Art Collection
Ceramics at the National Museum of African Art
ongoing exhibition
On View:
NMAfA, Pavilion Gallery
Data Source:
National Museum of African Art