Snuff Container

Snuff Container


Gourd and copper alloy

Overall: 7.5 cm (2 15/16 in.)

Leonard C. Hanna, Jr. Fund 2010.200


Snuff containers made out of a gourd--the hard shell of the fruit of the Oncoba spinosa tree--and decorated with wirework were widespread in southern Africa. The shape and material of gourd snuff containers suggest they would have been made for female users. Like a woman’s womb, the gourd contains and nurtures the seed. Thus, the materials and the forms of snuff containers allude to procreation and fecundity.

See also
African Art
African Art
Type of artwork: 

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