Wongo figural palm wine cup, DRC
6 5/8" tall
wood, pigment
late 19th/early 20th century
ex private collection, Illinois


On various ceremonial occasions, men and women in many
parts of Africa consumed a beverage/wine made from the raffia
palm. Men would also drink palm wine in the evenings when
they gathered to discuss the affairs of the community. The
carved and elaborately decorated wooden drinking cups often
expressed an owner's status within the community.

This wonderfully expressive and well used cup would originally
have had a cord/string tied to the hole in the back. When
traveling, the owner would carry their personal cups with them,
tied to the waist. Part of the left foot is missing, as can be seen
in the photos, and it does not stand on its own.
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