Skip Navigation

Symmetrical Reduced Black Narrow-Necked Tall Piece

Magdalene Anyango N. Odundo

Arts of Africa

Dame Magdalene Odundo’s vessels represent the height of technical skill and visual inventiveness. Trained in Kenya, India, and England—where she first began working in clay—her influences span millennia and continents. These sources include Cycladic art; San Ildefonso Pueblo artists like Maria Martínez; European modernists like Hans Jean Arp; and Gwari potters like Ladi Kwali OON, MBE. This vessel’s long, flared neck evokes Nigerian Nupe pottery, another of her inspirations. While Kang Suk Young carefully manipulates his work during the construction process, a multistep firing process determines the final appearance of Odundo’s works. Organic materials carbonize during firing, reducing oxygen to transform the reddish-orange terracotta to a shimmering black. The rainbow sheen on this object accentuates its voluptuous lower half.
MEDIUM Terracotta
DATES 1990
DIMENSIONS 16 x 10 x 10 in. (40.6 x 25.4 x 25.4 cm)  (show scale)
SIGNATURE Signed and dated on base
COLLECTIONS Arts of Africa
CREDIT LINE Purchased with funds given by Dr. and Mrs. Sidney Clyman and Frank L. Babbott Fund
CATALOGUE DESCRIPTION Black narrow-necked, symmentrical vessel made in 1990 by Magdalene Anyango N. Odundo who was born in Nairobi, Kenya (Luo, b.1950). Hand built vessel finished with a burnished slip and reduction-fired in a saggar to give a variegated black and orange-red surface. Condition: Excellent.
MUSEUM LOCATION This item is not on view
CAPTION Magdalene Anyango N. Odundo (British, born Kenya 1950). Symmetrical Reduced Black Narrow-Necked Tall Piece, 1990. Terracotta, 16 x 10 x 10 in. (40.6 x 25.4 x 25.4 cm). Brooklyn Museum, Purchased with funds given by Dr. and Mrs. Sidney Clyman and Frank L. Babbott Fund, 1991.26. © artist or artist's estate (Photo: Brooklyn Museum, 1991.26_SL1_edited.jpg)
IMAGE overall, 1991.26_SL1_edited.jpg. Brooklyn Museum photograph
"CUR" at the beginning of an image file name means that the image was created by a curatorial staff member. These study images may be digital point-and-shoot photographs, when we don\'t yet have high-quality studio photography, or they may be scans of older negatives, slides, or photographic prints, providing historical documentation of the object.
RIGHTS STATEMENT © Magdalene Anyango N. Odundo
The Brooklyn Museum holds a non-exclusive license to reproduce images of this work of art from the rights holder named here. The Museum does not warrant that the use of this work will not infringe on the rights of third parties. It is your responsibility to determine and satisfy copyright or other use restrictions before copying, transmitting, or making other use of protected items beyond that allowed by "fair use," as such term is understood under the United States Copyright Act. For further information about copyright, we recommend resources at the United States Library of Congress, Cornell University, Copyright and Cultural Institutions: Guidelines for U.S. Libraries, Archives, and Museums, and Copyright Watch. For more information about the Museum's rights project, including how rights types are assigned, please see our blog posts on copyright. If you have any information regarding this work and rights to it, please contact If you wish to contact the rights holder for this work, please email and we will assist if we can.
Not every record you will find here is complete. More information is available for some works than for others, and some entries have been updated more recently. Records are frequently reviewed and revised, and we welcome any additional information you might have.