Central Africa, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Hemba, Kuba, or Bangubangu peoples, ca. early to mid-20th century CE. A hand-carved wooden clyster (enema funnel) of a ritual form used on cattle. The conical instrument has a wide funnel mouth that tapers to a narrow tubular opening with a slanted tip for easy administration. The upper funnel shoulder has an integral suspension loop with an abstract anthropomorphic maskette on the exterior bearing ovoid eyes, a trapezoidal nose, and scarification marks across the cheeks and eyebrows. Ritual clysters like this example were thoroughly cleaned and disinfected using fire and smoke which has imbued the funnel with a lustrous brown patina and a slight smoldering scent. Size: 4.7" W x 11.25" H (11.9 cm x 28.6 cm)
Cf. a Kuba example at The University of Michigan Museum of Art, accession number 1984/2.27
Provenance: ex-private St. Petersburg, Florida, USA collection; ex-Dr. Peter Horvath collection, Massachusetts USA, acquired in the 1980s
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Small nicks and a few stable hairline fissures to upper funnel rim, with chips to funnel tip, softening to carved face on suspension loop, light encrustations, slight inactive insect damage, and noticeable smoky smell, otherwise intact and very good. Great patina throughout.