Kuba Basket Shaped Wood Container
DR Congo
Late 19th century
Wood, powdered redwood (tukula)
Size: 10 1/2" tall x 5" diameter  ( 27 x 12.5 cm)

The Kuba people carved special wooden boxes and containers to store powdered tukula (derived from the tropical redwood Pterocarpus sp), which was used as a ritual cosmetic and also to produce a distinctive red textile dye.
Women who were in mpurning coated themselves with this powder, which was mixed with palm oil, for a period of nine months;it imparted a coppery glow to their skin.
The box is carved in the shape of a fiber basket, and patterned with three different ancient motifs, including the interlace and the hexagon.

Ex Belgian Collection 


Kuba Wood Container for Tukula powder