Both Fulbe and Hausa women use henna paste to decorate their hands with geometric designs. After the designs have been applied, a woman inserts her hand into a tubular gourd such as this to protect it until the dye stains her skin. The burned patterns that have been pyroengraved onto the gourd echo the geometric designs that will soon adorn her body.
Elongated tubular gourd with pyroengraved linear geometric decoration.
Mildred A. Morton, Falls Church, Virginia, collected Kano, Nigeria, 1973 to 2000
African Mosaic: Selections from the Permanent Collection, National Museum of African Art, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C., November 19, 2013-ongoing
African Mosaic: Celebrating a Decade of Collecting, National Museum of African Art, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C., November 19, 2010-November 13, 2013