Of the many ritual items in a Grassfields kingdom’s royal treasury, bead-embroidered calabashes are among the most important. These containers were used exclusively by the Fon (chief) to store palm wine served on ceremonial occasions. The ritual consumption of palm wine was considered a sacred activity and reinforced the Fon’s spiritual and political power. Palm wine was also an essential component of sacrificial libations to the ancestors.
Provenance: Pace Gallery, New York
Reference: Like examples are in the National Museum of African Art, Washington DC and the Newark Museum of Art