Indiana University Bloomington IU Bloomington IUB

Snuff Container

This container, carved from a single piece of wood, demonstrates a mastery of material, form, and technique. The large oval ring not only attaches to the smaller ring at the top like a link in a chain, but it also can be moved around the cylinder inside it, from which the two globular receptacles extend. Though the form of this container is not unique, none of the known examples have a definitive Zulu provenance, though they are similar to some Zulu examples. In addition, the form of the two receptacles here clearly relates to the shell of the fruit of the umthongwane tree, which was used as the most common Zulu snuff container.

Zulu (?) peoples, South Africa
Snuff Container
Late 19th century (?)
W. 10 ¾ in. (27.3 cm)
Sidney and Lois Eskenazi Museum of Art, Raymond and Laura Wielgus Collection, 2010.29