By Victoria Rovine
University of Florida (formerly University of Iowa)

Pots for sale on market day. Banamba, Mali, 1988. Photograph by Barbara E. Frank.

The clay walls of the pot keep water cool, and many Malians believe that pottery preserves the fresh taste of water (unlike metal and plastic containers). These special pots are distinguished from ordinary storage pots by their ornamentation—most storage pots do not have surface decoration. Here a variety of pottery containers are offered for sale in a market in Mali. The darkened jars are for cooking, while the red jars are for holding water.