Terra cotta is not just used for domestic containers. It can take on an infinite number of forms, as a result of the ductility of clay and the extraordinary imagination of its shapers. Often the receptacle is disguised with anthropomorphic features; sometimes the clay takes the form of a human being, imitates a face, becomes a portrait. The wet hands of the potters tame the earth, and gently transform it, creating curves that are made permanent by the heat of the flames. This book features African terra cotta from the Barbier-Mueller Collection, showing the works in context and as artworks, through cultures that have disappeared over the centuries and through traditions closely linked to the pottery that has survived to the modern day. This cultural heritage, whose symbolic power is as great as its beauty, offers a historic and geographic tour of the many aspects of Africa.