PurseArtist(s)Object Creation Datecirca 1890-1920Medium & Supportbrass, beads, and leatherDimensions
13 3/8 in x 6 1/8 in x 1 3/4 in (33.97 cm x 15.56 cm x 4.45 cm)Credit LineGift of Dr. James and Vivian CurtisSubject matter
This object listed as made by Kirdi peoples, while most likely correct, 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.
While the use of this purse is not clear, it is possible, since it was made of brass, that it was a prestige item.
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.
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
An oval-shaped brass purse with loops around the outside edge. Attached to each loop is a string of beads or leather ending in a brass crotal bell. The body of the purse has raised ovals with a spiral pattern inside. The lid has a brass handle and a longer beaded strap. Primary Object Classification Costume and Costume Accessories Primary Object TypepurseCollection AreaAfricanRights
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symbols of office or status