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Lidded Container

A work made of wood.
CC0 Public Domain Designation

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  • A work made of wood.


Mid–late 19th century


Northern Nguni
KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa
Eastern and Southern Africa

About this artwork

The use of this container with its graceful ovoid form and incised linear pattern is unclear. It may have served as a prestige object for a high-ranking member of society—for instance, providing a place to store tobacco in honor of guests and ancestors on festive and ritual occasions. Recent scholarship suggests that it may have been made explicitly for sale to a foreign client, tourist, or resident.


On View, Gallery 137


Arts of Africa


Northern Nguni


Lidded Container


South Africa (Object made in)

Date  Dates are not always precisely known, but the Art Institute strives to present this information as consistently and legibly as possible. Dates may be represented as a range that spans decades, centuries, dynasties, or periods and may include qualifiers such as c. (circa) or BCE.





46 × 27.9 cm (18 1/8 × 11 in.)

Credit Line

Ada Turnbull Hertle Fund

Reference Number


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Extended information about this artwork

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