19th–early 20th century

Object Place: Lower Kasai region, Democratic Republic of the Congo


22.86 cm (9 in.)

Accession Number


Medium or Technique

Wood, copper, porcelain

Not On View


Africa and Oceania, Contemporary Art


Decorative arts

Titles and status in the elaborate Kuba court structure were signified by prestige objects of handsome form and intricate detail, such as this vessel used for drinking palm wine. The head shown on the cup bears delicate geometric bands and a matched coiffure, the small face is enhanced by a copper strip and sweeping coiffure edges identified with the Ngeende sub-style. Such cups were often carved to order by specialized artists.


Jos Walschaerts (dealer; d. 1982), Antwerp. August 5, 1992, sold by Marc Leo Felix (dealer), Brussels, to William and Bertha Teel, Marblehead, MA; 1994, partial gift of William and Bertha Teel to the MFA; 2014, acquired fully with the bequest of William Teel to the MFA. (Accession Dates: January 26, 1994 and February 26, 2014)

Credit Line

Gift of William E. and Bertha L. Teel