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Medicinal container
Date: Mid-late 20th century
Medium: Gourd, wood, copper alloy, plant fiber
Dimensions: H x W x D: 19.5 x 10 x 9.9 cm (7 11/16 x 3 15/16 x 3 7/8 in.)
Credit Line: Gift of Marc Leo Felix
Geography: Tanzania
Object Number: 89-5-1
Search Terms:
Female use
Exhibited: Healing Arts

Women healers carry medicinal oils and herbs in gourd containers. The hairstyle carved on the figurative stoppers is typical of that worn by girls during their coming-of-age ceremonies.

Bottle-shaped gourd with a metal ring and fiber cord around it. The stopper is in the form of a stylized doll (carried by young girls during initiation rites) and the gourd has a cylindrical body and a double crescent coiffure running from front to back. The lower portion or neck of the stopper is long and cylindrical. The surface of both the gourd and the stopper is coated with a blackening agent and grease.

Marc Leo Felix, Brussels, -- to 1989

Healing Arts, National Museum of African Art, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C., September 2016 - ongoing

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