Rare Chambri / Aibom Pottery Jar - Papua New Guinea (Ex. 1970's Collection)
This rare pottery jar was part of a large collection of artifacts collected from the region of the Sepik River, Papau New Guinea in the 1970's. Most of the collection comprised wooden artifacts, but there were also some much rarer pottery items that we were able to acquire. This particular jar is from the village of Aibom which is the only village in this region to have clay suitable for this type of pottery, albeit a coarse gritty clay. The purpose of the jar is for the storage of sago. It is heavily-potted and quite low-fired. Such jars are decorated with human, bird and/or animal faces and painted with various natural pigments. Due to the nature and use of such jars, surviving examples in collections often have some degree of damage or repair. Typically the surface colour of the pottery will vary from a dark red to black due to uneven conditions during firing, and there are sometimes firing cracks, especially where the pottery is at its thickest. Most such jars have a rounded base and are placed in a soft ground, but if displayed any type of circular base or ring will allow the jar to stand securely upright.
This example is decorated with what appears to be a human face painted with white pigment. It has a particularly wide flaring rim. There are calcium-type deposits to part of the lower surface, usually indicating age, although the dating of such pottery is very difficult. There is the expected wear. Part of the nose has been chipped and there are also two chips to the rim that have been stabilised to prevent flaking. The base is flatter than other examples and this jar stands quite securely unaided. Height 20 cm (7.75 inches).
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