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Image of M'vungu (Stirrup-Handled Water Pitcher)

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Mayivangwa Thérèse
Congolese (Vunda, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Central Africa) Primary

M'vungu (Stirrup-Handled Water Pitcher)


8 1/2 x 6 1/2 x 6 1/2 in. (21.59 x 16.51 x 16.51 cm)

Bryn Mawr College
Accession Number: 2022.7.4.a-b
Other Number(s): Cat. #86 (Exhibition Number)
Geography: Africa, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Vunda (Lower Zaire)
Classification: Containers and Vessels; Vessels; Pitchers
Culture/Nationality: Congolese, Central African, African
Collection: Janet MacGaffey, PhD 1981

Keywords Click a term to view the records with the same keyword
This object has the following keywords:
  • <containers for serving and consuming food>
  • <vessels for serving and consuming food>
  • African - Refers to the cultures of the continent of Africa, which is bounded by the Atlantic Ocean, the Indian Ocean, and the Mediterranean Sea.
  • animals
  • Central African - Nationality, styles, and culture of the people of the nation of the République centrafricaine.
  • Central Democratic Republic of Congo styles - Styles belonging to Central Democratic Republic of Congo cultures.
  • ceramic - Refers to any of various hard, brittle, heat-resistant and corrosion-resistant materials made by shaping and then firing a nonmetallic mineral, such as clay, at a high temperature.
  • clay - Naturally occurring sediments that are produced by chemical actions resulting during the weathering of rocks. Clays are composed of hydrated aluminum silicates, such as Kaolinite, Illite, Palygorskite, Attapulgite, Bentonite, and Montmorillonite. Small amounts of other minerals can change the color (white, yellow, brown or red) and texture of the clays. Clays may include all earths that form a paste with water and harden when heated.
  • Congolese - Nationality, styles, and cultures of the people of the Democratic Republic of Congo.
  • containers - Receptacles or formed or flexible coverings designed to hold, store, or ship objects or substances.
  • culinary containers - Containers for use in a kitchen, or for cooking.
  • earthenware - Pottery with a porous body, fired below 1200 degrees Centigrade. It is not vitrified, and must be glazed to render it nonporous.
  • geometric patterns
  • handles - Those portions of, or attachments to, objects that are designed to be grasped by the hand.
  • pitchers - Vessels, generally of ceramic, glass, metal, or plastic, that have a wide mouth with a broad lip and usually a handle at one side, but sometimes having two ears; includes those accompanied by a washbowl and used for personal hygiene.
  • Serpentes - Suborder containing around 2,900 species of reptiles with a greatly elongated body, tapering tail, smooth scaly integument, and in some species, venomous properties. Snakes represent a lizard that, over the course of evolution, has undergone structural reduction, simplification, and loss as well as specialization of characteristics. All snakes lack external limbs, but not all legless reptiles are snakes. All snakes are carnivorous and can be distinguished from legless lizards by their lack of eyelids, limbs, external ears, and vestiges of forelimbs.
  • vessels - Containers designed to serve as receptacles for a liquid or other substance, usually those of circular section and made of some durable material; especially containers of this nature in domestic use, employed in connection with the preparation or serving of food or drink, and usually of a size suitable for carrying by hand.

Additional Images Click an image to view a larger version
Additional Image Photograph by Charles Metzger
Photograph by Charles Metzger

Exhibition List
This object was included in the following exhibitions:
  • The Afro-American Tradition in Decorative Arts The Cleveland Museum of Art , Feb 1, 1978 – Apr 2, 1978

  • Owner Name: Janet MacGaffey, PhD 1981, and Wyatt MacGaffey, Professor Emeritus of Anthropology, Haverford College
    Role: Collector
    Place: Mbanza Manteke, Democratic Republic of Congo
    Acquisition Method: Purchased from the Artist
    Disposal Method: Donation to Bryn Mawr College
    Ownership Start Date: 1965
    Ownership End Date: 2022

Bibliography List
The following Bibliography exist for this object:
  • John Michael Vlach, The Afro-American Tradition in Decorative Arts The University of Georgia Press. Athens, Georgia, 1990
    Page Number: 90,167, Figure Number: 86
  • Janet MacGaffey, "Two Kongo Potters." African Arts 9, No. 1 (October, 1975): 31, Figure Number: 13.

Comparanda List
The following Comparanda exist for this object:

Related Bibliography List
The following Related Bibliography exist for this object:
  • Janet MacGaffey, "Two Kongo Potters." African Arts 9, No. 1 (October, 1975): 28-31, 92.
  • Janet MacGaffey, "Kongo Pottery: Woman's Art from Zaire." Heresies: Women's Traditional Arts - The Politics of Aesthetics 1, No. 4 (1978): Heresies, 116-117.
  • P. Amaury Talbot, In the Shadow of the Bush (London, England: William Heinemann, 1912), 287-294.
  • Maureen Vincke, Nzungu: La Ceramique Bakongo (Brussels, Belgium: Galerie Congo, January 1, 2002), 18-23.

If you would like to cite this object in a Wikipedia article please use the following template:

<ref name=BMC>cite web |url= |title=M'vungu (Stirrup-Handled Water Pitcher) |author=Bryn Mawr College Library Special Collections |accessdate=6/24/2022 |publisher=Bryn Mawr College</ref>

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