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Zee H.

AFS 150
Dr. Plageman
Blog Post 2
The mortuary vessels from Bura Culture was the most interesting object I have
encountered at the Museum of Anthropology. Dr. Guestelle said objects are originated from
Niger area with rivers and mountains. He told our group that its sad not knowing the exact
provenance location because most potteries had no written records, and looted without
maintenance, very few is known about the Bura culture. As a group, we have made an educated
guess; we have all agreed that the vessels may have represented a symbol of protection towards
the dead soul. The mortuary vessels themselves vary widely in size, shape, and pattern. Our
group made an assumption that the size represents the age of the dead person and pattern
represents the good work or social status of the person which covered the dead soul that
represents the persons life overall. Again, we made an assumption because there were few
information about the vessels.
The vessels were purchased from various New York art dealers. Most of the vessels were
illegal when they came to America so many vessels were kept by private collectors. Because
many illegal activities were involved transporting these vessels, Archaeologists excavated a
mound in 1983 which is very late compared to how early it was discovered in 1975 by an
accident. Thats almost 10 years of gap time took over time to fund the Archaeologists to actually
work and research the vessels. I believe that if those research funds were given earlier just like
other culture around globe, many more evidences could have been discovered from vessels
history and record. Many vessels are too damaged but people in major cities do want to put these
vessels for an auction so they made some fake mortuary vessels and sold them illegally. The fake
vessels caused many confusions for the Archaeologists and future researches. It saddens me to
hear that the modern potters throughout Africa began producing reproductions of the Bura
vessels to sell to dealers and collectors, often passing them off as authentic artifacts. We need to
stop messing with the history because African society of its origin needs to take care their
historical objects in order to recover past/future education of Africa across the globe.
Wake Forests MOA is doing great in terms of maintaining and researching the African
objects but as a Wake Forest community, we are not truly involved in studying the lost history.
Before we look into MOA and their studies, we may need to accept and recognize the
brainwashing and subduing of black people from the history that was stolen by many scholars
from Europe. We had many old scholars who studied different African cultures but their attitudes
and conclusions have truly affected todays society point of view on Africa negatively. Most of
these old scholars from Europe did not visit the Africa so their conclusions are not hundred
percent reliable.

Most Black people have no idea the history of a people will determine whether their
present would be that of confidence or subdued. For example; if youre not too bright of your
history, itll also make you feel subdued in the present. We need to help them to be proud of their
history, this will give the confidence for the present African people.

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