Food and Drink

As a sign of hospitality the king often shares a drink of palm wine with his guests. The beverage is drunk from a horn such as this one. Made from polished and carved buffalo horn, these drinking vessels are presented as gifts of friendship to members of the chiefly classes. Men of lower social status drink from undecorated horns and calabash containers.

Floral and geometric patterns decorate the lower portion of this horn, while the top portion is wrapped with copper wire. These decorations add color and luxury to the piece.

The decorations resemble flowers and spiders. A nocturnal animal that lives beneath the ground, the spider is considered a wise animal and is often used to decorate objects.

Retainers (servants) would also offer the king and his guests kola nuts from bowls made in the shape of human figures, such as this one from Kom.

The figure represents a court retainer and is covered with thousands of red, blue, and white glass beads.

The figure holds and offers a bowl that would be lined with leaves and filled with kola nuts.


© Michael C. Carlos Museum of Emory University,
Memorial Art Gallery of the University of Rochester and Dallas Museum of Art
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