For centuries, among the Kuba, indications of personal status have been an important element in crafted objects. Even ordinary utilitarian items such as drinking cups for palm wine may indicate wealth and status through elegant carvings and decorations. Frequently, cups intended for use by rulers are carved in the form human head with a distinctive hairstyle associated only with royalty. Far more rare are cups carved with full figures.
Wooden cup for ritual drinking of palm wine, in the form of a human head, with handle. Decorated at hairline, between eyes at temples with brass tacks. Condition: Base chipped has been broken and repaired.