Kola nut tray (okwa oji)

20th century, 1950–2000
Artist Unidentified

Object Place: Nigeria


Overall: 23 x 41 cm (9 1/16 x 16 1/8 in.) Overall (bowl alone): 12 cm (4 3/4 in.) Overall (lid alone): 14 x 26 x 9 cm (5 1/2 x 10 1/4 x 3 9/16 in.)

Accession Number


Medium or Technique

Wood (patinated)

On View

Richard B. Carter Gallery (Gallery 171)


Africa and Oceania, Contemporary Art


Decorative arts

A stimulant, kola nuts are widely traded throughout West Africa, and people share and consume them during ritual and ceremonial occasions. Carved in hard, blackened wood, this serving tray, with delicate incised patterns around its rim, holds the nuts; a central container with fully articulated bearded male heads serves for sauces and spices


black marker on bottom and inside lid: "Ib3"


1987, sold by a Mr. Omar, Cambridge, MA, 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