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Nupe Wood Bowl Engraved Nigeria African Art

Regular Price: $150.00

Special Price: $65.00

Product #: 100248
US Shipping: $24.98
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Title Nupe Wood Bowl Engraved Nigeria Africa
Type of Object Bowl, container
Country of Origin Nigeria
People Nupe
Materials Wood
Approximate Age second half 20th century
Dimensions 12.5 inches diameter x 6 inches deep
Overall Condition good
Damage/Repair some stains and scrapes; minor cracks


Additional Information: This wooden bowl nicely shaped  is a work of a Nupe artist. The artworks of the Nupe are highly respected, even though the variety of objects they produce is very small. The limited nature of Nupe art is due to the strict influence of Islam, which has controlled the social and religious life of the Nupe for at least 250 years. Muslim law forbids the use of art objects that possess human figural elements, considering them profane. The Nupe, unable to express themselves in such fashion, instead developed a magnificent ability to decorate utilitarian objects with intricate geometric incising. They craft extraordinary carved calabashes and wooden bowls, fashion stunning terra cotta vessels, and weave exquisite, highly-prized textiles. Wooden bowls such as this would be used by women in kitchen activities, to serve meal or to store foodstuffs. The popularity of Nupe art with serious collectors is a testament to their skills and their unique adaptability to social upheaval.

The Nupe have always lived near the confluence of the Niger and Kaduna Rivers.
They are a group of about 500,000 people. They live mainly in Niger. Though often associated with the Hausa, the Nupe are not related to them in any way, only neighbors. In fact, the Nupe speak a unique language unrelated to any other. Prior to the 15th century, the Nupe were subject to the Igalas, who were subjects of the Kingdom of Benin, some 150 miles down the Niger River towards the coast. The mythology of the Nupe honors their relationship with the Igala, understandable considering the violent subjugation suffered by the Nupe at the hands of the Hausa, and then the Fulani, in the 18th century.