Kola Nut Bowl

Grassfields peoples, Cameroon

Wood and pigment

Gift of Georgine Russell Hill and family Remembering with love Dr. Alfred and Marybelle Russell, Nezzie and Alice

15 x 36.25 x 18.5 in

Ornate kola bowls are among the most important regalia in a Cameroon Fon’s treasury. At every important celebration, the Fon offers kola nuts to his guests in a gesture of hospitality, festivity and joy. To break a kola nut with a ruler is regarded as the height of welcoming generosity and trust. The figure wears a prestige cap reserved for high ranking men, and his position atop an elephant is a metaphor for the Fon’s strength and sovereign authority. Lizards are carved in relief around the circumference of the bowl and also on the lid, and may suggest longevity and renewal of royal authority

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