Object 14

Powder box - Kuba
Wood and plant fibres
Royal Museum for Central Africa

Inv. EO.1956.26.12


According to the Kuba, the moon awakens fertility, a force that in a certain sense is also provided by the nyim (the king). There was a close bond between the Kuba king and the nocturnal star, expressed by rituals and taboos; The nyim had to make himself "invisible" with a new moon and could not leave his home. In addition, the cemetery where the presumed successors of the king lay was poetically called "the rest of the moon". The celestial body was given a place at the Kuba on an artistic and iconographic level. This is illustrated by the cosmetic pigment box, which takes the shape of a crescent moon. These boxes are carved from wood and often decorated with plant fibres.

Eric Warnauts - Raives
Congo 40
Casterman, 1988


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