Lozi Platter – Zambia

The Lozi language group, also known as the Barotse, occupies the Zambezi floodplain in southeastern Africa. Best known for their basketry, they also have a tradition of wood carving produced by artisans from tributary communities. This is largely embodied in a class of lidded, ornamental bowls used for the serving and storage of food, typically almond-shaped or ovular and topped with a handle in avian or geometric form. The platter presented here is similar in form and features a highly decorative openwork rim that echoes the classic zigzag or sawtooth motifs found in Lozi basketry. It was used to serve “relish” (likely a meat stew) at banquets or feasts, likely in royal contexts. Smoothed and worn with long use, it shows a lovely, developed patina with deep browns and warm highlights.

Late 19th or early 20th century
Wood
13” l 9” w
Provenance: Private European collection
#516
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