Accession Number



Object Creation Date
circa 1890-1920

Medium & Support
brass and wood

3 1/8 in x 1 3/8 in x 1 3/8 in (7.94 cm x 3.49 cm x 3.49 cm)

Credit Line
Gift of Dr. James and Vivian Curtis

Subject matter
This object is listed as made by Kirdi peoples; while most likely correct, it is not without issue. “Kirdi”, meaning pagan, was the label given to the various peoples from northern Cameroon, northeastern Nigeria, and southern Chad by neighboring Fulani and Kanuri peoples because they did not practice Islam, while the latter do. The people collectively known as “Kirdi” are actually many different cultural groups with their own customs. However, due to a lack of information on where exactly this object came from, it is not possible to say with certainty which group of people created it.

Cast from brass, snuff—or tobacco—containers were once prestige items. They are part of a group of objects related to smoking, including brass pipes and powder horns.

References Cited: 
Gebauer, Paul. 1979. Art of Cameroon. Portland, Or.: Portland Art Museum. 
Lembezat, Bertrand. 1961. Les populations païennes du Nord-Cameroun et de l'Adamaoua. Paris: Presses Universitaires de France.
Lembezat, Bertrand. 1952. Mukulehe; un clan montagnard du Nord-Cameroun; coutumes, rites, croyances. Paris: Berger-Levrault.
Northern, Tamara. 1984. The Art of Cameroon. Washington, D.C.: Smithsonian Institution. 
Page, Donna. 2007. A Cameroon World. New York: QCC Art Gallery Press.

Physical Description
A cast brass container with a round body and a short neck. At the bottom of the container is a knob-like projection. The body of the container is decorated with incised lines and raised, undulating lines around the top and bottom edge. Near the neck is a small loop. The top of the container is closed with a wooden stopper. 

Primary Object Classification
Decorative Arts

Primary Object Type
snuff bottle

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
smoking (activity)
snuff containers
tobacco (material)

4 Related Resources

PAST - Maize & Blue
(Part of: FFW Lower Level Study Cases     )
Visual Cultures of Islam- Metalwork
(Part of: Visual Cultures of Islam )
Medicines and Remedies
(Part of: History of Medicine - American Association of Historians of Medicine (AAHM))

& Author Notes

Web Use Permitted