Showcasing the art and ritual of the African and African-diaspora religions

Kuba Chalice

Catalog Number: E008/F001


Full: 27.0 x 10.0 x 9.5 cm; base: 20.5 x 9.5 x 9.5 cm; lid: 8.0 x 9.5 x 9.5 cm


Full: 10.6 x 4.0 x 3.7 in; base: 8.0 x 3.7 x 3.7 in; lid: 3.0 x 3.7 x 3.7 in


Religion and Denomination: Roman Catholicism (Christianity)
Country of Origin: Democratic Republic of Congo
Ethnographic Origin: Kuba (West-Central Africa)
Materials: Wood
Usage: N/A
Detailed Description of Significance:

The Kuba are divided into eighteen separate ethnic groups who were historically united under a single king. They have long lived in a forested area between the Sankuru and Lulua rivers and the Kasai river and its tributaries in what is now the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

The interweaving zigzag patterns incised on the sides of this chalice recall the designs on Kuba textiles, cloths made from raffia fibers. The pattern around the bowl of the chalice is known as the Nama style, which is thought to resemble intertwining vines and may also recall the word Enama, eight. In French, the pattern is known as huit huit. The pattern on the lid and base is possibly theNemo Nkanya style.