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Gallery Ezakwantu

African Art  - Art Africain - Tribal Art -  菲洲艺术 - Afrikanische Kunst


Central and Southern African Tribal Art

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African Beer - Wine and Milk Cups


Chopes de Bière Africaines - Afrikanischer Bierbecher









Kuba and related Wine Cups




Large Kuba related cup measuring  + - 20.5 cms. - Example 'A'.


Kuba is a term used to identify numerous small ethnic groups. They include the Bushoong, Ngeende, Kel, Pyaang, Bulaang, Bieeng, Ilebo, Idiing, Kaam, Ngoombe Kayuweeng, Shoowa, Bokila, Maluk, and Ngongo. The paramount chief of the 'Kuba Kingdom'  is always a Bushoong, because the creator Bumba decreed it so. All the ethnic groups have a representative in residence at the Bushoong court.






Kuba related peoples adorned their bodies with scarification. Designs found therein were replicated onto fabrics, mats, buildings, weapons and most of their wooden objects, including beer cups.




Kuba Cup - Example 'A'.


Wine cups were elaborately decorated with geometric designs, faces (above) and sometimes human figures. Their display brought personal prestige and status to the owner, making a suggestion of exceptional wealth and power. The drinking cups were individually designed and faces often stylized portraits of the owners.




Kuba Cup - Example 'B'  + - 9.5 cms. - Circa 1900



Kuba Cup - Example 'B' 


This small cup easily dates to the 1900 and maybe older. It was discovered in a Belgium colonial context and is only + - 9.5 cms tall. The incised patterns are markedly similar to that found on Shoowa fabric (below).






Kuba related women were responsible for decorating currency fabrics that displayed a similar design to those found on beer cups (right). Girls from a young age received lookalike scarification that prepared them for womanhood (left).



Kuba Cup






Kuba Cups - Double  + - 11 cms.


This is a rarely seen double example of late 19th century origin.




Kuba Cup - Double the pleasure, double the fun.


An excellent - rare prestige example exhibiting great use and age.





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Shi Milk Containers

Shi Cups - Congo / Rwanda



Shi Milk Cup - Example 'A'


The Shi live along lake the northern portion of Tanganyika in Congo and Rwanda. Marc Leo Felix wrote in "100  Peoples of Zaire and Their Sculpture"; The Twa pygmies were the original inhabitants of the region, joined later by the bajunji, Bantu dynasties from the West, who arrived with some Lega. The next arrivals were expansionist pastoral groups from Rwanda, and eventually all these groups mingled together. Oral history has it hat they were once divided into clans, which were each politically separate and independent under a clan chief. By the early 20th c. all the peoples had state like political organization under the central authority of supreme chief. Divided in subgroups: Uhavu, Citwinja, Malinjalinja, Cizibaziba, Marongeronge, Ciehinyiehinyi. He mentions their religion is; elaborate, complicated by syncretistic tendencies having been overlaid with cults of different origins.




Shi Milk Container - Example 'A'


The pastoralist Shi are also known as Omushi, Abashi, Amashi, Bashi, Banyabungu, Wanyabungu and Bahavu. Their wooden milk vessels were carved surprisingly thin. So thin that once it hand you are startled by the extraordinary precision required to place the inner and outer circular forms so close to one another - one perfect surface nearly touching the other. The precise 'roundness' made it possible for cups containing milk to stand upright when placed on the ground.




Shi Cup or Milk Container - Example 'A'    + - 20 cms tall.


A double flared spout adds to the amazing symmetry of this early 20th century gem. Aspects of the incised design overlap with Tutsi beadwork and basketry.




Shi bowl or milk scoop - Example 'B'


All Shi objects on offer were rediscovered in the context of Belgium private collections. This eloquently decorated Shi milk scoop is particularly scarce. 




Shi milk scoop - Example 'B'  + - 24 cms long.


 Shi drank milk from wooden cups and this case a small bowl.




Shi Goblet or Mug - Example 'C'  + - 16 cms tall.


This large cup is of goblet proportion that exhibits carved  'trademark' Shi incised design.





Shi Mug or Goblet - Example 'D'





Shi Cup or Mug - Example 'C'










Galerie Ezakwantu

Southern African Tribal Art - African Art 


Central and Southern African Tribal Art


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