We asked Omalo, who works in our ICT Department, what her favourite object in the museum was - the Sudanese dung bowls.
'Why did you choose these objects?'
What drew my attention them was a little drawing that a school child had made in one of the comment cards. He had drawn the dung bowl with horse dung in it and it was steaming!
That made me think, oh that’s fascinating - the fact that something as humble as animal dung can be converted into bowls that are so beautiful. They are used as part of a girls or young woman’s dowry at a wedding for storing things that she would find useful in her married life. Things like perfumes and flour.
I found it really, really, interesting that you see something that looks really nice but it’s made from something as humble as animal waste.
'How do you think it has been painted?'
You can see it seems like gum mixed with red earth, then painted with a thin layer of gum. It is probably be gum Arabic from the plant which will act as varnish and seals it.
White is from whitewash, black from soot, and reds from local soils the blue could be from commercial dying.