Shona Snuff Gourd - Zimbabwe

The taking of snuff was of fundamental personal and social importance among many tribes of southern Africa – it sharpened the senses, strengthened social ties as a communal act, and allowed degrees of communication with the ancestors. Accordingly, items associated with snuff were both ubiquitous and attractively designed, and wirework snuff gourds were one of the most distinctive of such objects. This beautiful example from the Shona features a lively mixture of thick crescents and bands around its circumference. It also retains its stopper, which is more rarely found with such gourds.

Gourd, wire
Late 19th or early 20th century
H 2" W 3"
Ex Marc and Denyse Ginzberg collection

Published in African Forms, Ginzberg, p. 120
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