Production date
Papua New Guinea
East Sepik
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Object detail

Clay bowl/jar lid - SEMBUK AU: with pedastal base ring, flaring rim, lower exterior body appliqued and painted decoration.
CH classification INDIGENOUS CULTURES Melanesian & South Sea Islander pottery
Production date
Production place
H.140 x Dia.259 mm
Media/Materials description
History and use
The three main functions of the Sembuk Au can be deduced from its shape - a wide-mouthed bowl with walls flaring outward and a cylindrical base. It can be used not only as an eating dish or soup container, but when inverted can serve as a lid for sago storage jars. Larger versions may be used for the preparation of food.

The method of manufacture of Aibom pottery is ring building. Initiated women make the vessels and apply the decoration. Men specialise in forming and decorating the faces and figures on to vessels used in ceremonies and in modelling the faces on the large sago storage jars. Almost all women from the age of fifteen know how to make pots with no particular specialisation in the types of vessels made; all women can and do produce all kinds. Pottery is made mainly during the wet season.

Aibom is the only Iatmul village in the Sepik with clay suitable for producing ceramics. If women of Aibom marry out of their village they forfeit the rights to their clay pits. However, they do not have to relinquish their right to make pots.

Uploaded to the Web 27 May 2011.
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