Clay Cooking Pot from Papua New Guinea

Contributed by John Willett

Clay Cooking Pot from Papua New Guinea

Clay Cooking Pot, Amphlett Islands, Papua New Guinea
Collected about 1990

PNG is a nation in transition from isolation in the 19th century, through colonialism to independance in 1975, and this is mirrored in what is happening to its cooking vessels. In remote villages, traditionmal clay cooking pots, which can be made locally to age old designs, are still in use but in towns and the nearby villages they are being displaced by more robust and convenient aluminium vessels. Nonetheless, many of my Papuan colleagues expressed a strong belief that food cooked on an open fire in a clay pot has a superior taste.

Each region of the country has its own traditions of pot making and its own shapes and decorations (see P May and M Tuckson, The Traditional Pottery of Papua New Guinea, Bay Books, 1982). Those from the Amphlett Islands are particularly prized, being thinner in section and using less firewood to cook food. They are also a very elegant shape with restrained decoration.

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Papua New Guinea


about 1980


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