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Container narrowing at top and bottom. The base (a) is concave and the mouth rim is tightly wrapped. The container is coiled in ten vertical sections. Cowrie shells are knotted on at the shoulder. The lid (b) also has cowrie shells knotted on just above the lip.

History Of Use

Probably a 'gorfa' type container which would normally be encased in a 'seephani' holder consisting of leather straps. The straps would be used to secure the lid and to suspend the container. Normally used to hold fresh or curdled milk.
Cowrie shells are a sign of wealth and a symbol of fertility to many people of Kenya. The inside of most vessels are charred black because the sterilizing process involves burning embers of special tree, usually resulting in smoky tasting contents. The charred inside also acts as a seal to make it water tight.
Borana men and women make containers, men make wooden ones and married women make woven ones. Called 'xoda' if it has a recessed lid, 'chicho' if convex.

Cultural Context


Item History

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