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Water Container (Jidaga)

A work made of terracotta and slip.

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  • A work made of terracotta and slip.


Early/mid–20th century


Kangaba, Mali
Northern Africa and the Sahel

About this artwork

Maninka potters form the base of a work by gently pounding a flattened pancake of clay over a convex mold with a stone or fired-clay tamper; often, the mold is an old or broken pot that has been saved for the purpose. If the vessel requires a foot, it is added to the base while it is still inverted. After it has dried enough to be self-supporting, the base is turned upright and placed on a turntable. Among the Maninka, turntables are specially commissioned wooden platters. The potter then scrapes the interior walls of the base before adhering coils to complete the vessel’s form. She perfects the lip using a piece of wet cloth and may go on to burnish parts of the vessel to give it a smooth finish.

This pot reportedly comes from the village of Kangaba. Its carefully considered form reflects the process that was used to make it. The rounded base, formed in a convex mold, ends in a narrow ridge that visually separates it form the sloping upper body and short flared neck, which were formed by coiling. Contrasting areas of texture and burnished red slip accentuate these transitions. Thin dotted lines, achieved by carefully rocking a notched metal ring along the soft clay, lie like jewelry around the waist and just inside the lip, while two small raised pellets mark a focal point at the neck.


Currently Off View


Arts of Africa




Water Container (Jidaga)


Mali (Object made in)


Made 1900–1950


Terracotta and slip


38.1 × 39.4 cm (15 × 15 1/2 in.)

Credit Line

Gift of Keith Achepohl

Reference Number


Extended information about this artwork

Object information is a work in progress and may be updated as new research findings emerge. To help improve this record, please email . Information about image downloads and licensing is available here.


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