The many lives of Chikaba's jar: Biography of a Terra Lemnia and it's famous last owner

Sirio Canos-Donnay*, Beatrijs De Groot

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter (peer-reviewed)peer-review

Abstract / Description of output

Tucked away in a small cabinet in a convent in Salamanca (Spain) is a finely crafted little jar. Originally a filtered terra lemnia jar of Ottoman origin, it has since had a wide and diverse range of lives, from utilitarian object to Christian relic. In its life trajectory, it has woven together people, things, and historical processes across cultures, borders, and religions, from its origins in the island of Lemnos to its most famous owner, the 18th-century Afro-Hispanic nun and writer Teresa Chikaba. The jar's long and complex life trajectory illustrates and embodies a web of entangled lives, material processes, and global encounters. Through a combination of archival research and the reconstruction of the jar's origins, we have started to untangle these complex webs and traced some of the diverse past lives of this curious object and the stories it tells about the slave trade, relics, Islam, Christianity, court intrigues, politics, and racism in 18th-century Spain and beyond. Key-words: Atlantic Slave Trade, Object Biographies, Afro-Europeans, Ottoman ceramics
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationOf Things and Stories
Subtitle of host publicationCurrent Approaches to Object Biography, Medium, and Materiality
EditorsChristina Marini, Lita Tzortzopoulou-Gregory
PublisherArchaeological Institute of America
ISBN (Print)9781931909464
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2024

Publication series

NameSelected Papers in Ancient Art and Architecture

Keywords / Materials (for Non-textual outputs)

  • Atlantic slave trade
  • object biographies
  • Afro-Europeans
  • Ottoman ceramics


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