For Hearth and Altar

African Ceramics from the Keith Achepohl Collection

Kathleen Bickford Berzock

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Price: $65.00
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An extraordinary collection of beautiful ceramic objects that reflect the intimate connection between pottery and village life across the African continent

Practicing centuries-old techniques that have been passed through generations, African potters craft their wares by hand from terra cotta clay, firing them in the open to create vessels of amazing durability. These pieces embody an immediacy of form and a deceptive simplicity that reflect their makers’ deep understanding of material, process, and embellishment. This exquisite book presents a virtuoso group of African ceramics collected by printmaker and professor Keith Achepohl over the past 20 years. Focusing on the aesthetic accomplishment of each work, Achepohl has assembled a collection that ranges in date from the 3rd to the mid-20th century, spans the African continent, and displays the full range and artistry of African ceramics.

Beginning with a small group of archaeological pieces that demonstrates the historical roots of ceramic traditions in Africa, the book also offers a larger selection that highlights the continuing connection between pottery and village life, secular and sacred, in Africa. Among the featured works are large, dramatic storage and water containers; mid-sized vessels designed to hold personal belongings, serve food, and brew beer and palm wine; and small bottles and embellished containers made as luxury items and for religious and ritual use.

Kathleen Bickford Berzock is curator of African Art at the Art Institute of Chicago.


Art Institute of Chicago (December 3, 2005 – February 26, 2006)

"Beautiful, with magnificent photographs, well-footnoted text, and a bibliography that stands as a useful compilation of the literature on the subject."—Mary S. Thieme, Museum Anthropology

"This is an engaging, thoughtful, and aesthetically enticing publication that will have enduring value as a resource for study of African ceramics." —Susan Cooksey, H-Net Reviews
ISBN: 9780300111491
Publication Date: September 15, 2005
Publishing Partner: Published in association with The Art Institute of Chicago
204 pages, 10 x 11
23 b/w + 164 color illus.
Speaking of Objects

African Art at the Art Institute of Chicago

Edited by Constantine Petridis; With contributions by Marth

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