Horn (title cup)

African, Cameroon, Grassfields
20th century, 1950–2000
Artist Unidentified


Object Place: Cameroon

Dimensions

Height x width: 17 x 33 x 9 cm (6 11/16 x 13 x 3 9/16 in.)

Accession Number

2009.2776

Medium or Technique

Buffalo horn

Not On View

Collections

Africa and Oceania, Contemporary Art

Classifications

Decorative arts

This buffalo horn with smooth patina and finely engraved motifs is a title cup-one of three essential pieces of regalia that each lineage head receives at his investiture, when he takes his “title;” the other two are his stool and cap. Title cups have multiple functions, and serve as ritual containers when the owner pours libations and drinks palm wine from them. The fully articulated lizard alludes to vitality, the stylized frog motif to fertility and prosperity.

Provenance

1981, sold by Esatuk Gallery, Paris to 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