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Object Name: Bottle
Cultural Group: Bamileke peoples
Place of Origin: Cameroon
Date: 19th century
Dimensions: Total Height: 62.50 cm, H: 53.50 cm, DIAM: 21.00 cm
Materials Used: Gourd, glass beads, textile, felt, thread
Credit Line: Fowler Museum at UCLA. Gift of the Wellcome Trust.
Accession Number: X65.5813ab
Drinking palm wine is a sacred activity for the ruler and his entourage. It is the ultimate social lubricant and considered essential to hospitality and conviviality, both highly valued in Grass fields royal contexts. Elaborately ornamented containers with images of birds, elephants, and leopards highlight the royal prerogative of drinking palm wine and are prominently displayed next to the ruler whenever he sits in state. The designs on some containers are typical of Grass fields arts and sometimes refer to the spider, who is associated with prophecy and clairvoyance.
Source: Gallery text,Intersections: World Arts, Local Lives, 2006