Dish, bowl

African, Cameroon Grassfields
20th century
Artist Unidentified

Object Place: Cameroon


Diameter and height: 30.5 x 13 cm (12 x 5 1/8 in.)

Accession Number


Medium or Technique

wood and metal

Not On View


Africa and Oceania, Contemporary Art



Kings of the Cameroon Grassfields used lavish visual displays to assert their status and wealth. Bowls and vessels were among the many objects commissioned by local rulers and skilled artisans would be paid, and in some cases given noble ranks, for their services. Bowls were carved with abstract geometric patterns and zoomorphic images that related to the prestige of the object’s owner. Bowls of this type could be used as containers for food and beverages as well as for offerings to ancestor spirits.


1977, acquired in Douala, Cameroon, by Geneviève McMillan (b. 1922 - d. 2008), Cambridge, MA; 2008, to the Geneviève McMillan and Reba Stewart Foundation, Cambridge; 2009, gift of the Geneviève McMillan and Reba Stewart Foundation to the MFA. (Accession Date: June 17, 2009)

Credit Line

Gift of Geneviève McMillan in memory of Reba Stewart