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Bruce Frank Primitive Art
New York City, NY
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Ritual Bowl

Igbo, Izzi region, Nigeria
Early 20th c.

Provenance: Old American collection

This distinctive bowl is in the form of an abstracted face.  Its eyes take the form of raised oval bands, a raised vertical line indicates a nose and the large opening represents its mouth.  On the rim outlining the opening of the mouth there are two incised dots that seem to represent the nose’s nostrils.  Traversing the opening of the vessel, in a circular pattern, are raised clay cowry shells, its progression interrupted at the lower end with a human face with arching arms, that is raised from the bowl’s surface.  The surface is heavily encrusted with organic matter, suggesting it received many ritual offerings and libations.  No definitive research has been done to confirm the exact function of these types of vessels.

Ritual Bowl

Igbo, Izzi region, Nigeria
Early 20th c.

Provenance: Old American collection

This distinctive bowl is in the form of an abstracted face.  Its eyes take the form of raised oval bands, a raised vertical line indicates a nose and the large opening represents its mouth.  On the rim outlining the opening of the mouth there are two incised dots that seem to represent the nose’s nostrils.  Traversing the opening of the vessel, in a circular pattern, are raised clay cowry shells, its progression interrupted at the lower end with a human face with arching arms, that is raised from the bowl’s surface.  The surface is heavily encrusted with organic matter, suggesting it received many ritual offerings and libations.  No definitive research has been done to confirm the exact function of these types of vessels.

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