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Figural Bottle

A work made of terracotta.

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  • A work made of terracotta.


Mid–/late 20th century


Possibly Zela
Democratic Republic of the Congo
Central Africa

About this artwork

In the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries the Luba kingdom grew in strength and influence, dominating a large region centered on the resource-rich Upemba Depression, lying along the Lualaba River in south-central Democratic Republic of the Congo. The Kaonde, Lomotwa, Lunda, and Zela all live in the outer reaches of the Luba kingdom, and their pottery reflects the regional influence of Luba ceramics as well as its broader cultural diversity.
This bottle has been fully given over to the human form, depicting a woman holding a highly stylized baby in her left arm. Such vessels usually hold water or alcohol, whether palm wine, home-brewed beer, or even distilled liquor. They may also be used to pour libations in honor of ancestors or may be placed on shrines or graves. [See also 2005.284].


Currently Off View


Arts of Africa




Figural Bottle


Democratic Republic of the Congo (Object made in)

Date  Dates are not always precisely known, but the Art Institute strives to present this information as consistently and legibly as possible. Dates may be represented as a range that spans decades, centuries, dynasties, or periods and may include qualifiers such as c. (circa) or BCE.

Made 1950–1999




28.6 × 19.7 cm (11 1/4 × 7 3/4 in.)

Credit Line

Gift of Keith Achepohl

Reference Number


Extended information about this artwork

Object information is a work in progress and may be updated as new research findings emerge. To help improve this record, please email . Information about image downloads and licensing is available here.


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