Notes: Healing magic by transference to terracotta figurines

Kwandahal terracotta Image source: Wikimedia Commons

Terracotta vessel for Kwandalha healing by divination. Image source: Wikimedia Commons

Hollow, egg-shaped terracotta vessel with a figurative head at the top of an elongated mouth. This vessel was created for use in Longuda kwandalha healing divinations. After a ritual specialist determined the cause of a disease, the patient was given a newly modeled vessel, into which the disease was transferred. Such pots, which tend to embody the symptoms described, are remarkable for their highly expressive and imaginative forms.
The body contains molded arms, a flute (?), belt, necklace, bumps (possibly indicative of an unattributed disease), navel and vulva added to the surface. The figure’s arms rest on the belly of the vessel. The face has a large, ovoid mouth, two projecting half-circular ears, with round, flat ear plugs in each. A further ear plug is inserted above the mouth; another plug is missing from the lower lip. Eyes are formed in a molded, bisected coffee-bean shape. Two projecting nostrils sit above the eyes. The coiffure is composed of projecting tufts; several have been broken off. The surface has black firing marks, and is covered throughout by soil accretions.
The above Kwandalha figurines resemble Jomon period terracotta figurines and may provide insights to prehistoric magical uses of the figurines.
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