Tsonga Linked Snuff Containers - South Africa

Snuff containers were ubiquitous and honored objects in South Africa, figuring frequently in festive and ceremonial social contexts. Used to heighten the senses and access communion with the ancestors, snuff was also taken to incite celebrants to procreation. This association is possibly reflected in the mammary and phallic suggestions seen in this beautiful pair of dual snuff containers. Linked in the manner of a chain and smoothly formed with extreme care, these multi-part pieces were each carved from a single piece of wood, save for their conical stoppers. This type of linked snuff container is sometimes found attached to headrests, which are likewise regarded as a means of communication with ancestral spirits.

Top:
Late 19th century
10 1/4” l
Wood
Provenance: Marc and Denyse Ginsberg, New York; Sheikh Saud bin Mohammed al-Thani, Qatar and London

Bottom:
Late 19th century
8” l
Wood
Provenance: Allan Stone, New York
#477
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