The decorative details adorning this ceremonial cup reflected the owner’s wealth, status and influence within the Kuba Kingdom. This anthropomorphic Kuba cup depicts a carved head, which features a serene expression and small, closed mouth symbolising the value of contemplation before speech. The raised cicatrizes present on the temples are signs of cultural refinement. The ‘neck’ is adorned with incised geometric patterns.
Carvings around the rim of the cup are suggestive of the traditional hairstyles worn by Kuba nobility. Carved from a fine-grained brown wood, the surface of the cup has developed a beautiful patina over time.
J. Andes, ‘Art We Miss: Royal Mask Complex’, Utah Museum of Fine Arts https://umfa.utah.edu/kuba-masks