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The Cover
March 10, 1999

Kuduo Vessel

JAMA. 1999;281(10):873. doi:10.1001/jama.281.10.873

Two types of decorative brass vessels, forowa and kuduo, are made by the Ashante people of southern Ghana. Though the forms sometimes overlap, their methods of fabrication and their functions are clearly distinguished. The first, forowa, is made from hammered, or sheet, brass; its uses are chiefly domestic and personal, among them the storage of shea butter, a vegetable fat used as a cosmetic, as food, and as fuel. The second, kuduo, is made from cast brass. Its uses are mainly ceremonial and ritual, such as for sacrificial offerings, in newborn rites, female puberty celebrations, twins festivals, royal purifications, and funerals. Often filled with gold dust, gold weights, pearls, or other precious items, kuduo were associated with the soul and were often buried with the body of the deceased person. A particularly fine example of the latter is the precolonial Kuduo Vessel (cover ), now in Toledo, Ohio, which dates from sometime during the 18th to 19th centuries.