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Between and Mortarboard

UMMA Object Specific Fields

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Accession Number



Artist Nationality
Kuba (Democratic Republic of Congo style)

Object Creation Date
circa 1920

Medium & Support

4 1/8 in x 2 1/4 in x 4 1/4 in (10.5 cm x 5.7 cm x 10.8 cm);7 1/16 in (18 cm)

Credit Line
Gift of Al and Margaret Coudron

Subject matter
Kuba artists apply their bold and sophisticated surface designs to both ceremonial and everyday objects alike. Objects such as drums, boxes, stools, backrests, knives, swords, bangles, wisdom baskets, staffs and fly whisks were typically reserved for the king and his courtiers. However, these objects in addition to cups, rubbing oracles, pipes, combs, drinking horns, ritual spoons, and scepters also served specific religious and ceremonial functions, or were simply everyday objects for common use. Whether they were related to prestige, used as divination objects to protect the community or simply served as conversation pieces for decoration, the commonality these objects often share are the elaborate geometric patterning and lavish surface design.

This pipe is designed with a figurative head. Pipe smoking was considered to be an activity associated with royalty. 

Daniel Biebuyck, The Arts of Zaire, 1985
Roy Sieber, African Textiles and Decorative Arts, 1972
Jan Vansina, The Children of Woot, 1978

Physical Description
Cylindrical vessel carved in the shape of a human head. The top of the head is designed with cross-hatching marks with a linear triangular design wrapped around the top of the figure's head. A hole is carved into the crown of the figure's head.

Primary Object Classification
Wood and Woodcarving

Primary Object Type

Collection Area

If you are interested in using an image for a publication, please visit for more information and to fill out the online Image Rights and Reproductions Request Form. Keywords
Objects We Use
carvings (visual works)
heads (representations)
men (male humans)
smoking (activity)

& Author Notes

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