Thursday, 10 May 2018

Object Assessment- G.011- Open bowl, with black shined surface

Within the University College London (UCL) Ethnographic Collections, object G.0111 is a catalogued as “Open bowl, with black shined surface” (UCL Ethnographic Collection, 2018). According to the records kept by the Anthropology Department at UCL, the object was purchased in Jasikan, Ghana in 1962 (UCL, 2018; UCL Ethnographic Collection, 2018). The ceramic is reportedly from the Volta Region of East Ghana (UCL, 2018; UCL Ethnographic Collection, 2018). The object is approximately 12cm in diameter, 9.5cm in height, and weighs 543g. The ceramic has few decorative features apart from a molded rim, a molded base, and a single modestly sized “V” shaped mark on the interior. The vessel is in excellent condition with very few scratches or losses to the surface.

According to the object identification tag associated with G.0111, someone whose initials are “P.M.W” gifted the ceramic to UCL (Ethnographic Collection, 2018). Further research in the archives revealed the more complete name, “P. Morton- Williams” (UCL, 2018). According to secondary sources Peter Morton-Williams served as the head of the Anthropology Department at the University of Ulster in Northern Ireland (Wilson and Donnan, 2006). 

 Object G.0111 was purchased in East Ghana, though closer stylistic comparison yields overwhelming similarities with traditional Yoruba ceramics (Nanashaitu 2017). The object is important to the UCL Ethnographic Collections, as it is one of few examples of pottery from East Ghana. If the ceramic is indeed, Yoruba, then it is one of two Yoruba ceramics within the collection. This ceramic is a valuable teaching and research tool within the UCL community. Outside the UCL community, this object is significant to people who identify with or research Yoruba diasporas. 

Gore, C. and Morton-Williams, P. (1997) ”Remembering R. E. Bradbury: An Interview with Peter Morton-Williams”, African Arts, 30(4), pp. 36–93.
Ethnographic Collection (2018 A) ‘G.0111 Object Tag,’ (Accessed March 2018).
Ethnographic Collection (2018 B) ‘Unit1.spreadsheet,’ (Accessed March 2018).
European Country of Origin Information Network (ECOIN), (2018) ‘Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada,’ Available at: document/1087002.html (Accessed on: 27 March 2018).
Mobile Cinema (2011) African Politics in Transit,’ Available at: https:// mobile-cinema/ (Accessed February 28 2018)
Morton-Williams, P. (1960a) ‘The Yoruba Ogboni Cult in Oyo’, Africa, 30(4): pp. 362-374.
Morton-Williams, P. (1960b) ‘Yoruba Responses to the Fear of Death,’ Africa, 30(1), pp. 34-40.
Morton-Williams, P. (1964a) ‘The Oyo, Yoruba, and the Atlantic Trade, 1670-1830’, Journal of the Historical Society of Nigeria, 3(1), pp. 25-45.
Morton-Williams, P. (1964b) ‘An outline of the Cosmology and Cult organization of Oyo Yoruba, Africa, 34(3), pp. 336-353.
Morton-Williams, P. (1969) ‘ The Influence of Habitat and Trade on the Polities of Oyo and Ashanti’, In M Douglas and P.M. Kaberry (eds.) Man in Africa. pp. 79-95.
Morton-Williams, P. (1995) ‘Two Yoruba Brass Pillars’, African Arts, 28(3), pp. 60–92.
Morton-Williams, P. (2005) ‘A Superb Yoruba Horseman,’ African Arts, 38(1), pp. 72–73.
Nanashaitu, U. (2017) ‘The Indigenous Yoruba Pottery: Processes and Products,’ Research on Humanities and Social Sciences, 7(20), pp. 52-63.
Nanashaitu, U. (2017) ‘An Appraisal Of Traditional Yoruba Pottery and Potters,’ Global Journal of Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences, 5(6), pp. 17-25.
O’Grady, C. (2018) ‘ARCLG139: Skills for Conservation Management- Conservation Survey (Lecture)’, University College London, 6 February. London: Institute of Archaeology.
Signal and Noise: Media infrastructure and Urban Culture in Nigeria.https:// Cpg = PA95lpg = PA95dq = professor+ peter + morton + williamssource(Accessedon : 4April2018
South Eastern Museum: Development Program (2017) Object Condition Assessment Framework. Available at: (Accessed on 3 April 2018).
Tate (2017) Condition Report Guidelines. Available at: about-us/projects/matters-media-art/lending-time-based-media-2005/condition- report-guidelines (Accessed on 3 April 2018).
Thomson, G. (1986) The Museum Environment. 2nd Edition. Oxford: Butterforth-Heinemann.
UCL (2018) ARCLG124 Objects 2018. Internal Ethnographic Collection Re- port. Unpublished.
UCL: Ethnographic Collections (2017) ‘G.0111.’ Available at: http:// eth- (Accessed on 27 March 2018).
UCL: Ethnographic Collections (2017) ‘G.0110.’ Available at: http:// eth- (Accessed on 27 March 2018).
Victoria and Albert Museum (2009) ‘Making a Statement: Improving the Condition Reporting Process, ‘Conservation Journal, 57, pp.
Williams, T.M and Donnan H. (2006) The Anthropology of Ireland. Oxford, UK: Berg Publishers. 

This post refers to coursework done for ARCLG142 (2017-18), one of the core courses of the UCL MA  Principles of Conservation. As part of their assessed work for this course, students were asked to investigate objects from the UCL Ethnography Collections at the UCL Department of Anthropology. Here they present a summary of their main conclusions. We hope you enjoy our work! Comments are most welcome.  

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