Bamana Women’s Pottery

by Barbara Frank
SUNY at Stony Brook

Stacking the pots for firing. Kunògò, Mali, 1991. Photograph by Barbara E. Frank. 


The pots are placed upright on a circular bed of wood. Women begin by placing the largest vessels in the center, positioning them carefully so that they are supported by the wood, touching each other as little as possible. Smaller vessels encircle the larger ones and the entire stack is carefully covered with wood. The average firing consists of about thirty to thirty-five pots, representing about two weeks of work for one or two potters, as they fit pottery production in and around other domestic duties.