Used to carry and store milk, these jugs are made of gourds, basketry, mud/clay and leather and some of them are adorned with cowrie shells. A leather strap is added to be able to hang them from the walls of the house. Read the story..
The Borana people belong to the Oromo group in Ethiopia. The word spelled Borana is pronounced with the final vowel silent. It refers to the people or their language and also means "friend" or "kind person".They are semi-nomadic herders. A Borana hut is made from wood and skins. During a move the hut is dismantled and everything is loaded on camels and donkeys. When the family arrives at its destination, all the women immediately start the construction of the huts. It is also the duty of women to draw water, collect firewood, fumigate or sterilize containers for keeping milk fresh, milk the animals, feed the children to sleep.
These milk jugs were a part of everyday life, used to carry and preserve milk from their cows. They are vital objects in a culture where raising cattle is of central importance. The milk that these containers hold is a symbol of abundance.
After use, the container is sterilized by cleansing with charcoal. This operation is called qoraasuu and gives the milk a wonderful fragrance. The inner surface becomes black, dense, smooth and aromatic. Years later the containers still have an old odor.
Every basket is unique and in good overall condition (signs of use, small imperfections).