Africa Direct
Africa Direct

Hima Milk Jug with Woven Lid Uganda

AvailabilityIn stock
Special Price $74.00 Regular Price $195.00
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Brand Unbranded
Type of Object Container
Country of Origin Uganda
People Hima, BaHima, see also Tutsi (Rwanda)
Materials Wood, metal, woven vegetal fiber lid.
Approximate Age Mid 20th century
Height (in) 9
Width (in) 8
Dimensions 2.5 inch diameter lid
Overall Condition Good. Most of our pieces have spent decades on at least two continents, and have been treasured by several owners.   Small splits, scrapes and cracks are a normal part of their patina attesting to their age and extensive use.  We examine each piece carefully when we receive it and report any damage we find in our listings.  Please look carefully at the pictures which may also reveal condition and damage.
Damage/Repair Indigenous repair, cracks and chip; see pictures for details.

The milk in my refrigerator is contained in plastic or cardboard. The pitchers on my counter are attractive glass or pottery…but no one spent days carving them, or carefully weaving a basketry top to keep flies out. And when was the last time I carefully repaired a loved item? Hima jugs are an iconic African art form, often seen in Architectural Digest and other design magazines. I am particularly fond of this one, with its lovely aluminum indigenous repair, and its elegant basketry top.

~ Elizabeth Bennett

"This type of milk container was usually accompanied by a pottery brazier rather like an inverted funnel. It was used to fumigate the bottle to prevent the milk from spoiling too quickly." Containers like this were also found among the Tutsi and were used for the storage of milk.

The Hima wood milk jug sheds light on the cultural practices related to the Hima people and their traditions surrounding marriage. The Hima are believed to be descendants of pastoralists who migrated to the region from the northeast.

The wooden milk jug is likely a traditional container used by the Hima for storing milk. These jugs are crafted from Hima wood, which could be a type of wood commonly found in the Hima region. The finely woven lid indicates the attention to detail and craftsmanship involved in making these containers.

In Hima culture, the possession of large, healthy cattle is considered a symbol of prosperity and wealth. Additionally, having a large wife is also seen as a sign of affluence. This reflects the traditional association of physical size with wealth and abundance in certain cultures.

In the context of marriage among the Hima, there is a practice where brides-to-be live in a separate village in a small hut known as a "fattening hut." The primary focus of the bride-to-be during this period is to gain body fat. This is achieved by consuming a certain amount of milk each day, which is stored in containers like the wooden milk jug you mentioned. The idea behind this practice is to enhance the bride's physical appearance and promote the perception of health and fertility.

It's important to note that cultural practices and beliefs can vary among different communities, and the information provided here is a general understanding of the Hima culture.

I have examined this piece and agree with the description. ~ Niangi Batulukisi, PhD.