A field planted with tobacco near the Banda hills northwest of Ahenkro. Banda area farmers began to go into commercial tobacco farming in the 1980s. In preparation to grow tobacco, fields were clear cut and plowed by tractor. Tobacco seedlings were transplanted into the mono-cropped fields. Farmers used commercial fertilizers supplied by tobacco buyers who advanced money on cured leaves. These large cleared fields rapidly lost soil fertility. After tobacco farming was banned by the Traditional Council in the early 2000s, these open fields were often planted with other cash crops, like cashew. Northwest of Ahenkro, 1994.
By 1994, many Banda farmers had gone into tobacco farming. Money was advanced to farmers by tobacco companies to purchase the cement and iron sheets needed to build drying barns. The buyers also advanced commercial fertilizer needed to grow the cash crop. A tractor supplied by the company was used to prepare fields for the seedlings and to transport firewood from surrounding areas to the barns. Large amounts of wood were used to stoke fires in the drying barns. South side of Ahenkro, June-July, 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), 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.
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 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.
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.