Spencer Museum of Art The University of Kansas

Welcome to the Spencer Collection

  • Ganda peoples
  • pot, 1925–1990
  • Where object was made: Uganda
  • ceramic
  • Object Height/Diameter: 30.48 x 16.51 cm
    Object Height/Diameter: 12 x 6 1/2 in
  • Anonymous gift
  • On view: Marshall Balcony, 404, C1
  • PG2008.026
Label Text

Exhibition Label:
"Race, Gender, and the "Decorative" in 20th-Century African Art: Reimagining Boundaries", 11-Nov-2017
The creation of pottery was historically a gendered activity that existed in a complementary relationship with other artistic practices. For instance, as discussed with reference to the bellows in the case behind you, African metalsmiths were exclusively male. Most potters, often metalsmiths’ wives, were female. Nevertheless, exceptions existed: In some places men made ceramics, although the division of labor, techniques used, and types of pots created were distinct from those employed and made by women. This burnished Ganda pot exemplifies the artistry of a male potter. In some contexts, royal members of the Buganda court commissioned such pieces and placed them on basketry stands woven by women, illustrating gender complementarity in artistic production.

Exhibition Label:
"Earthly Vessels: African Ceramics," Sep-2009, Nancy Mahaney
Symbols of Social Influence: Ganda and Zande are two of the few African societies where pottery is traditionally made by men. Gourd-shaped bottles, such as this Ganda piece, are used to hold drinking water or beer, but are also collected as luxury items by tourists and the wealthy members of the society. Ornate Zande bottles are commissioned by tribal leaders as gifts. This act of giving not only honors the recipient of the gift but also serves to reinforce the giver’s reputation as a man of importance.