During the 20th century women from the potting villages of Dorbour, Adadiem and other locations west of the Banda hills sold their pots in markets centers to the east and the west. Here women sell clay pots in the market at Bondoukou in Côte d’Ivoire. Visible are varied-sized cooking pots (sro chͻ in Nafaanra), water jars (chͻkoo in Nafaanra), soup pots (chiin sinyjͻlͻ in Nafaanra) and grinding bowls (pԑԑ in Nafaanra). Also for sale in the foreground are clay eating bowls that appear to have been fired in a kiln (?) rather than a bonfire. Bondoukou, 1994.
During the 20th century women from the potting villages of Dorbour, Adadiem and other locations west of the Banda hills sold their pots in markets centers to the east and the west. Here women sell clay pots in the market at Bondoukou in Côte d’Ivoire. Visible are varied-sized cooking pots (sro chͻ in Nafaanra), water jars (chͻkoo in Nafaanra) and grinding bowls (pԑԑ in Nafaanra). Only the grinding bowls are blackened which was a fashion that came in sometime in the 20th century. Bondoukou, Côte d’Ivoire, 1994.
A woman inspects a clay jar for sale in the Bondoukou market. Large and small cooking pots (sro chͻ in Nafaanra) and a bowl are displayed for sale. During the 20th century women from Banda potting villages and surrounding areas headloaded their pottery to sell at Bondoukou's weekly market. Bondoukou, Côte d’Ivoire, 1994.
A man transports a clay pot, carefully strapped to the back of his bicycle and cushioned beneath by coiled grass leaves. He is returning from one of the potting villages where hs has purchased the clay jar from a potter. More often, pottery was taken to markets by headloading, sometimes sold by potters, but also by women who traded in clay pots. Banda area, 1994.
Though potters work individually when they make clay pots, they help each other when they fire their pots. In the foreground are the ashes left by earlier fires, and in the background women tend to ongoing bonfires. Stacks of firewood are visible in the background. Adadiem, 1994.
A woman stacks clay grinding bowls on top of wood in preparation for a bonfire firing. The bowls are placed to ensure even exposure to the heat of the bonfire. She will place additional fuel on top of the bowls before lighting the fire. Adadiem, 1994.
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.
Fired, blackened clay grinding bowls are stacked (center). While hot from the fire, the bowls have been blackened by rolling them in dry grass or peanut (boŋgrɛ in Nafaanra) shells. To the right, a bonfire firing is in progress. The outside perimeter of the fire is banked with previously fired but broken jars. To the left, a large clay bowl contains a bark solution into which the pots are dipped while still hot from the fire. Behind that, another bonfire burns. To the right (back, center) pots have been stacked in preparation for another bonfire firing. The fashion of blackening grinding bowls began in the Banda area sometime during the 20th century. Adadiem, 1994.
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.
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 number of large and medium-sized clay jars have been placed upside down on a bed of fire wood in preparation for a bonfire firing. Several previously fired and broken clay pots together with large stones are used to bank the edges of the stacked firewood. More firewood is stacked behind the bonfire area. Adadiem, 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.
These fired clay pots are specifically designed for water storage. The water jar (chͻkoo in Nafaanra) on the left was made in Adadiem and the one on the right was made by a potter in Dorbour. Unlike pottery intended for other uses, potters do not finish pots intended for water storage in a bark solution to seal and color the pot. Instead, the surface of water storage pots needs to be porous to effectively cool the water stored inside. The size of the water jar's mouth allows access to the water inside but also limits evaporation. The color of these pots is a result of firing conditions. 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.
Fired clay stands like these were made by potters for use in the kitchen area of houses. Grouped together in threes like hearthstones, the stands supported pots over an open fire during cooking. Some of these fired clay stands had an opening, allowing pieces of meat to be placed inside where it slow-cooked and dried as other parts of the meal were cooking. Dorbour, 1994.
In order to transport clay pots by motor vehicle, they must be carefully packed and padded. Here, blackened clay grinding bowls packed in grass have arrived in Techiman market from potting villages in Banda. Techiman, 1994.
Varied sizes of clay jars are stacked in the corner of a room inside a house. The adjacent wall is decorated with enamel-ware lids and plates. Several metal cooking pots and a wooden paddle used to stir food sit around the clay pots. Jneni, 1994.
Afua Donkor, a Nafana potter, selects and places fuel as she prepares to fire clay soup pots (chiin sinyjͻlͻ in Nafaanra) that have been slipped red. Other clay pots sit nearby awaiting firing, some in a headpan. The pots are carefully stacked on top of the wood and additional fuel placed on top. Additional firewood is stacked behind and in front lays the bark that she will use to cover the clay pots before lighting the bonefire. Once lit, the bonfire will burn for between 30 and 60 minutes, after which the fired pottery will be hardened, useable and ready for sale. Two photos. Dorbour, 1994.
Potters in Adadiem place bark over clay pots that have been stacked on top of a bed of firewood. The bonfire has been lit and the bark serves as additional fuel. More red-slipped clay pots sit behind, waiting for the next firing. One woman carries a child on her back. The bonfire will burn for between 30 minutes and an hour, after which the pots will be ready for use or sale. Abena Donkor (far right) assists while Solomon Kojo, young boy in brown shorts, looks on. Two photos. Adadiem, 1994.
Narrow-necked clay jars like these were ideal for storing water. The exterior surface of these water jars (chͻkoo in Nafaanra) has been textured by rolling a twisted cord-wrapped stick (jar on the left) or a maize cob (jar on the right) across the surface and otherwise decorated with shallow grooved lines. The narrow opening inhibits evaporation while the porous fired clay walls keep the water cool. Bondakile, 1994.
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Water pots (chokoo); Jars; Twisted cord roulette; Maize cob roulette; Water storage
Kitchen area of a household in Dorbour. Several hearths are clustered in the center of the open courtyard surrounded by low wooden stools. Several wooden mortars of varying sizes and a number of pestles are clustered along a porch. Pottery and metal pots used in cooking are near the hearth. A goat forages for food amid the hearths. Large vessels to the far left store liquid (water, or possibly pito, locally made beer). The courtyard is surrounded by thatch- and metal-roofed rooms. Dorbour, 1994.
Hearths in a Dorbour household. One of three visible hearths is in use, a metal cooking pot suspended over a fire fueled by firewood. A wooden mortar and several pestles are at ready in the background. In the foreground (right) a clay cooking pot rests on top of a metal basin that has been re-purposed as a pot stand. A large metal pot, a calabash bowl (chrԑgbͻͻ in Nafaanra) and a plastic cup sit behind the clay pot. Dorbour, 1994.
A courtyard hearth in a Dorbour household. The hearth "stones" are clay pots turned upside down and embedded in the ground. A pottery cooking jar rests on the hearth, the firewood pulled away from the hearth while it is not in use. A metal cooking pot and headpan have caught the interest of a foraging goat. Dorbour, 1994.
A view across a compound courtyard toward the courtyard of a neighboring house. Several hearths have clay pots resting on their hearth stones (gbunu in Nafaanra). Two wooden mortars are nearby. The house in the distance is made of sun-dried blocks, with one side of the house roofed with metal and the other side thatch. The ground is clear of plants and clean swept. Adadiem, 1994.
In some of the area's potting villages, women make hearths using clay pots rather than stones (gbunu in Nafaanra). Three pots are placed close to one another, with their rims turned down. A clay jar tipped on its side sits to the right and metal pots are stacked to the left. Adadiem, 1994.
Afua Donkor, a Nafana potter, uses a pestle to pound bark that will be used to make a solution to finish clay pots. In a nearby headpan, more stripped bark awaits pounding. After pounding, the bark will be soaked in water. Hot clay pots just removed from the bonfire will be dipped and turned in the solution. This colors the pots and is said to reduce their porosity. She sits on a stool as she works in the courtyard near a hearth. Nearby is a large metal cooking pot, several wooden mortars and a number of pestles. Finished clay soup cooking pots (chiin sinyjͻlͻ in Nafaanra) sit behind her ready for sale. Dorbour, 1994.
Adwoa Miwo (right) learns to make clay pots from her experienced potter mother, Peni Ngunu Chͻ (center), as they work together in the interior courtyard of their house. Mosi Nyuu (husband and father) looks on. Partially finished clay jars sit nearby, resting on the palettes (kapankpa in Nafaanra) on which they have been formed. The more experienced mother is making a larger jar than her apprentice daughter. Also placed around the house's interior courtyard are two dark-colored clay soup pots (chiin sinyjͻlͻ in Nafaanra) and a wooden mortar (right). Thatch- and metal-roofed rooms surround the courtyard. Dorbour, 1994.
Women headloading pottery prepare to leave Dorbour to walk to the weekly market in Bondoukou, a distance of more than 30 km. They have secured the clay pots by tying nettting or cloth around them. The women are not necessarily potters. Some women trade in clay pots but do not make them. Dorbour, 1994.
Clay cooking pots (sro chͻ in Nafaanra) stacked at the Bondoukou market awaiting sale. Women have brought these pottery jars from potting villages in Banda (e.g., Dorbour) and the surrounding region (e.g. Bondakile). Bondoukou, Côte d’Ivoire, 1994.
Afua Donkor, a Nafana potter, inspects clay jars of various shapes and sizes that await firing. The liquid red slip (chuma in Nafaanra) has been applied, allowed to dry and then burnished in prepartion for firing. Visible around the courtyard are wooden mortars, a pestle and a metal cooking pot. Thatch-roofed rooms surround the courtyard. Dorbour, 1994.
Clay pots of this shape are used for cooking soup over a hearth fire. The relatively wide opening of soup pots (chiin sinyjͻlͻ in Nafaanra) makes it easy to add ingredients and stir the soup as it cooks. These soup pots are blackened, a fashion that took hold during the 20th century. Unblackened pots of similar shape are found on archaeological sites dating to the 19th century and earlier. Dorbour, 1994.
Storing pots (jloŋgo in Nafaanra) like these were formerly used to store drinks like pito (sorghum beer) or wenyjͻ nyumu (water boiled in a pot after it has been used to make "TZ," a starchy staple). The one on the left has been blackened while that on the right may have been treated with a red slip (chuma in Nafaanra). Both are highly burnished, giving them a glossy look. Dorbour, 1994.
Several large clay pots used for water storage (chͻkoo in Nafaanra) sit in the interior courtyard of a house next to a black metal barrel, which is also used for water storage. The surface of the two larger clay jars has been textured with maize cob roulette (bledjukaan in Nafaanra ), and one is decorated with arching grooves. The smallest jar has red-painted vertical lines on its interior rim. The small round-based jar has been placed on an enameled-ware pot for support. The larger water jar behind it rests on the upturned base of an enameled-ware headpan, re-purposed after its base rusted and it could no longer be used to carry things. A clay grinding bowl is visible in the lower left corner of the picture. Banda area, 1994.
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Water storage; Water pots (chokoo); Maize cob roulette; Decoration; Jars
A potter sits on a stool as she molds the upper body of a clay water jar (chͻkoo in Nafaanra). In her right hand she uses a maize cob (bledjukaan in Nafaanra), pulling it against the exterior surface to smooth and thin the clay. In the foreground are water jars whose leather-hard upper body and rim have been joined to a rounded base, their clay bases still moist and not yet smoothed. Large wooden mortars and a headpan containing moist clay sit nearby as she works in the shade of an open-sided room. Dorbour, 1994.