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Figural Bottle

A work made of terracotta.

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  • A work made of terracotta.


Mid–/late 20th century


Lunda or Luba
Democratic Republic of the Congo or Zambia
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. People living in areas peripheral to the Luba blended with them in various ways, emulating them, adopting their practices, and adapting to their increasing power in a dynamic fashion.
This vessel, with its large, beautifully sculpted head, conveys a greater stylistic formality and is probably Luba or Lunda. Its sculptural hairstyle resembles a crested headdress photographed by the missionary Rev. W.F.P. Burton in the 1930s. 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 2005.283].


Currently Off View


Arts of Africa




Figural Bottle


Zambia (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




38.7 × 21.6 cm (15 1/4 × 8 1/2 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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