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African Art
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Tobacco Mortar Supported by a Female Figure

19th–early 20th century

Wood and leather

8 × 2 × 2 1/4 in. (20.32 × 5.08 × 5.72 cm)
Gift of Mr. and Mrs. James Osborn for the Linton Collection of African Art
1964.76.23
Tobacco mortars and boxes were part of the regalia of Chokwe leaders. As both symbols of power and everyday utensils, they were treasured items handed down over generations. This mortar is supported by a female caryatid, possibly meant to represent a female ancestor of great maturity and status.
Geography: 
Made in Democratic Republic of the Congo
Made in Angola
Status: 
On view
Culture: 
Chokwe
Period: 
19th–20th century
Classification: 
Tools and Equipment
Provenance: 

Dr. Ralph Linton, Sterling Professor of Anthropology at Yale, unknown date–1953
Mr. and Mrs. James M. Osborn donated to Yale University Art Gallery for the Linton Collection of African Art in 1964

Bibliography: 

The Linton Collection of African Sculpture, exh. cat. (New Haven, Conn.: Yale University Press, 1954), no. 141.

Note: This electronic record was created from historic documentation that does not necessarily reflect the Yale University Art Gallery’s complete or current knowledge about the object. Review and updating of such records is ongoing.