c. 1920
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Did You Know?

Yorùbá language distinguishes between "artist" and "carver" based on the object someone is making.


Boxes carved into animal shapes, like this goose, held kolanuts. A source of caffeine, the kolanut seed is harvested from evergreen tree fruits. Guests to Yorùbá homes are offered the bitter nuts as a sign of hospitality; sometimes nut-filled boxes are placed on shrines. As birds are used as sacrifices, this box can be seen as a double offering of both fowl and fruit. The carver shaped and painted this waterfowl with great detail: rimmed eyes, alternating feather colors, and jointed legs ending in three-toed feet. According to a Cleveland Museum of Natural History ornithologist, these details suggest an Egyptian goose.


c. 1920

Africa, West Africa, Nigeria, possibly Ọ̀yọ́ region, Yorùbá-style carver

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