X86.2577 Healing vessel

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Sule (active 1960s-1980s)
Healing vessel (beji)
Tula peoples
Before 1970
Ceramic
Fowler Museum at UCLA. Gift of Jim and Jeanne Pieper. X86.2577
Collected by Arnold Rubin, Tula Wange, 1970

Category:
Description

The “bumps” on the surface of this vessel refer to the skin diseases that such pots were intended to cure.

General Information about Vessels for Transferring Disease:
Across the Western Gongola Valley, healing vessels were commonly used in ritual procedures enacted by healer-diviners to transfer the spirits of disease from a patient to a specially made ceramic pot. Typically, a piece of wet clay was circled around the patient’s body to help coax the disease into the clay. The healer-diviner then incorporated the clay into a newly modeled pot, whose features sometimes described the physical symptoms of the illness itself. Firing the pot—and transforming it into ceramic—helped secure the transfer of the disease.

Source: Gallery Wall Text, Central Nigeria Unmasked: Arts of the Benue River Valley, 2011

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