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Makonde or Zigua Medicine Container, Tanzania

H. 15 cm (5,9″)

Colored and polished Calabash

Objects like this one were used to hold medicine. They were traditionally used by the traditional healer to contain either liquids or powders that were used during healing ceremonies.

Calabashes and antelope horns are frequently used as containers for medicines, sacred oils, and other substances among different Tanzanian peoples. They are often closed with beautifully carved wooden stoppers, miniature heads that mimic larger sculptures and masks.

These functional objects become even more potent as healing devices when they are combined with feathers and carved heads that may represent ancestor spirits.

Age: Est. 40-50 year old.

Provenance: Acquired from a private collection in Nairobi, Kenya

Literature: Art Makonde 1989: 77-79,108-109.

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