Ishungu; A Zulu Wirework Snuff Gourd
Country Of Origin
Late 19th century
6.5 x 6 cms (2½ x 2¼ ins)
Gourd, copper wire
ex David Lewin, UK
These ingeniously made snuff gourds and other Zulu snuff containers were prestige items in much the same way as their European equivalents were. Snuff taking was widespread among the Zulu and other Nguni tribes and its use was part of the daily ritual. The beautiful deep patina shows the age and frequent handling of such personal items.
The gourds were patterned by pressing the bent ends of cut lengths of brass or copper wire into tiny holes piercing the gourd in the appropriate design. This example is done in fine copper wire in a the design of a stalk and splayed leaves.
Price on request