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Sago storage pot
Chambri
Modelled clay, pigment
late 20th century
Area of Origin: Melanesia, Aibom, East Sepik Province, Papua New Guinea
Collected by Peter Austin, geologist from Australia
Shreyas and Mina Ajmera Gallery of Africa, the Americas and Asia-Pacific
969.330.172
ROM2004_947_9
 

Description: In the Middle Sepik River Region, suitable clay for making pots is only found near Aibom Village. Women collect the clay from pits near the village. They begin to shape the pots with a double thickness base, adding coils that are pinched and pressed together to fashion the sides. Usually men form the bird-like face and other features in relief, and paint the decoration with natural pigments of black, red and white. The pots dry hard under the stilt houses and are fired before a market day. Smaller pots like this one are called “noranggau” and are multi-purpose containers. The larger ones called “damarau” range from 2 to 4 feet in height and are used for storing wet sago flour. The pots were traditionally traded for sago flour and betel nuts. Sago flour is made from the starch gathered from the pith of a palm tree. Additional Reading: 1. May, Patricia, and Margaret Tuckson. 2000. The Traditional Pottery of Papua New Guinea. Hindmarsh, Australia: Crawford House Publishing. 2. Tuckson, Margaret. Edited by Nancy Lutkehaus et al. 1990. "Sepik Pottery Research and its Relevance for Papua New Guinea.” Sepik Heritage: Tradition and Change in Papua New Guinea. Bathurst, Australia: Crawford House Press. Pp.553-567. See p. 560 for exact replica.

Exhibit History: Shreyas and Mina Ajmera Gallery of Africa, the Americas and Asia-Pacific, April 2008-present

Additional Reading:
1. May, Patricia, and Margaret Tuckson. 2000. The Traditional Pottery of Papua New Guinea. Hindmarsh, Australia: Crawford House Publishing.
2. Tuckson, Margaret. Edited by Nancy Lutkehaus et al. 1990. "Sepik Pottery Research and its Relevance for Papua New Guinea.” Sepik Heritage: Tradition and Change in Papua New Guinea. Bathurst, Australia: Crawford House Press. Pp.553-567. See p. 560 for exact replica.

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