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Artist/Maker: Kuba people (Democratic Republic of the Congo)

Date: not dated
Medium: wood and redwood pigment
Overall: 3 1/2 × 9 1/2 × 5 7/8 in. (8.9 × 24.1 × 14.9 cm)
Classification: Containers
Credit Line: Museum purchase through the Thea Katzenstein Art Acquisition Endowment Fund
Object number: 2012.13
DescriptionThe Kuba are famous for a vast array of beautifully carved prestige objects such as this lidded box, which held a supply of camwood powder that would be mixed with palm oil to form a paste used as a body cosmetic and emollient. The lavishly carved geometric patterned surfaces suggest the practice of wrapping prestige objects in woven and embroidered raffia cloth; the bulge in the middle of the front side portrays cowrie shell embroidery as seen on masks, drums and other objects used by royals and highly titled individuals. The ram’s head carved in relief on the lid also identifies this as a royal box; only the nyim (king) and other royals could own sheep.
Not on view
In Collection(s)