Large, shallow blackened clay bowls with interior striations are used in cooking and for eating. They are used together with a small double-sided wooden pestle to grind pepper and vegetables like "garden eggs" (small eggplants) when making soups. These bowls may also be used as men's eating bowls (pԑԑ in Nafaanra). Though archaeological sites occasionally have potsherds with striated interiors, this particular blackened bowl form was not common until the 20th century when it was introduced from areas to the south. Potters in the region began to produce the bowls for sale both locally and at regional markets. By the 1980s and 1990s, this was one of the most popular pots made for market sale. Ahenkro, 1986.
Large, shallow blackened clay bowls with interior striations are used in cooking and for eating. Cooks use them together with a small double-sided wooden pestle to grind pepper and cooked vegetables like "garden eggs" (small eggplants) for soups. They are also used as men's eating bowls (pԑԑ in Nafaanra). Bowls with striated interiors are occasionally found on archaeological sites in the Banda area, but this particular blackened form was not common until the 20th century when it was introduced from areas to the south. Potters in the region began to produce the bowls for sale both locally and at regional markets and by the 1980s and 1990s, this one of the most popular pots made for market sale. Ahenkro, 1986.
A calabash bowl (chrԑgbͻͻ in Nafaanra) containing water rests on top of a small pedestaled clay bowl (kontoŋdԑԑ in Nafaanra) used in funeral celebrations. The clay bowl is used by women to present food to the ancestors (sro waa in Nafaanra). Calabash rattles used in funeral celebrations sit nearby, some next to a basket. Dorbour, 1994.
Ten clay cooking pots (sro chͻ in Nafaanra) have been placed upside down on a bed of firewood in preparation for a bonfire that will fire the clay pots. These pots have been red-slipped (chuma in Nafaanra) before firing. In the background is the bark that will be used to cover and surround the pottery before the bonfire is lit. Once lit, the fire burns for beween 30 minutes and an hour, after which the clay jars will be useable and ready for sale. Dorbour, 1994.
A group of unfired clay pots to which red slip (chuma in Nafaanra) has been applied prior to firing. The string of Babobab tree seeds (foreground) is used to burnish the slip. By rubbing the dried slip vigorously with the seeds, the slip adheres to the surface and becomes shiny. To the right rear are several unfired clay eating bowls (kpokpoo in Nafaanra). Dorbour, 1994.
Small clay eating bowls like this one (kpokpoo in Nafaanra) were typically used by women. This one has been blackened after a fashion that became popular in the 20th century. Similar bowls are found on archaeological sites around the Banda area, though often with a flat, pedestaled base and seldom blackened. Dorbour, 1994.
A metal headpan is loaded with clay pots ready to take to market. The darkened angular pots placed around the inside edges of the headpan are soup pots (chiin sinyjͻlͻ in Nafaanra) and the rounder shaped pots are for cooking starchy staples (sro chͻ in Nafaanra). Dorbour, 1994.
Potting clay is spread to dry after being mined and brought to Dorbour by a potter, perhaps aided by her relatives. The clay includes a combination of plastic clay (chͻklͻlͻ in Nafaanra) and sandy clay (sisa in Nafaanra) which are mixed together at the place where the clay is mined. After drying, the clay will be pounded, sifted, mixed with water and kneaded until the clay is the right consistency. A potter only mixes as much clay as she needs to make a batch of pots (6-8). Children may help with the work of pounding and kneading the clay. In the background, houses made of atakpame (coursed earthen-walls) with thatched roofs are visible. Dorbour, 1994.
A potter seated on the ground starts to form a clay pot. She begins with a lump of clay resting on a metal plate (kpankpa in Nafaanra) which she can turn as she uses a draw-and-drag (direct pull) technique to shape the pot. A second lump of clay has already begun to be formed (lower left) and a clay bowl contains water that she uses to moisten the clay as needed (lower right). Lying on the metal plates to the left are tools that she will use as she forms the pot including two maize cobs, a spatula and a stone. Dorbour, 1994.
Small pedestal-based bowls like this one (called kontondԑԑ in Nafaanra) are used in funeral rituals. Women cook food and offer it to the ancestors in a funeral ceremony called 'sro waa'. Larger versions of these bowls were used in times past as women's eating bowls; however, by the late 20th century small versions like this one were only made to order for funerals. Men were prohibited from touching them. Dorbour, 1994.