Cup with handle in form of a hand (mbwoog ntey)

CULTURE:
Kuba peoples
DATE:
late 19th or early 20th century
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General Description

Kuba drinking vessels were carved out of wood or animal horn and decorated with geometric and figurative motifs derived from body scarification and textile designs. This cup is distinguished by its handle, which is carved in the form of a hand. Such cups were emblems of a warriors' association whose elite members had severed an enemy's hand in battle.

A 19th-century visitor observed that when Kuba men traveled or visited friends, they carried their personal cup with them, tied to the waist.

Excerpt from

Roslyn A. Walker, Label text, Arts of Africa, 2015.

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