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Cup

African Art

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Cup

Artwork Details

Artist/Maker

Kuba Artist, Democratic Republic of the Congo

Date

Late nineteenth–early twentieth century

Medium

Wood

Accession #

2002.307

Dimensions

Please contact the Museum for more information.

Location

Currently Not on View

Description

Elaborately carved wooden cups, used for drinking palm wine, in the form of full figures or human heads with delicately carved facial features, accurately depict Kuba hairstyles. These cups, and the quantity of wine available to fill them, served as status symbols to show off their owner’s wealth and good taste in the company of others. Thousands of these cups exist, and many display figural elements that are almost always male. On this cup, a Janus-style configuration shows two heads facing away from each other but sharing a single neck. Both heads are intricately incised with elaborately decorative patterns.

Credit

Fred and Rita Richman Collection