bowl (containers); food container (food service)

Tall, egg-shaped bowl made of dark wood, with three feet. The bowl is decorated all over with bands of vertical, horizontal and diagonal lines.

This is a type of carved wood vessel usually described as intended for serving milk or beer. 'Mainly due to their lack of visible signs of use, there is some uncertainty as to whether or not this genre of vessel, referred to inconsistently in early sources… as milk pots and also as beer pots, has any pre-colonial precedent or function. Nettleton has pointed out that these (usually lidded) vessels, possibly based on the form of smaller snuff containers for indigenous use, are now generally thought to have originated in mid-nineteenth-century Natal' (ie the British colony of Natal as opposed to the Zulu Kingdom, which was independent prior to 1879) (Elliott, Cartwright and Kevin, 2013, p 19).

Collection Information

These objects are only a part of our collections, of which there are more than 350,000 objects. This information comes from our collections database. Some of this is incomplete and there may be errors. This part of the website is also still under construction, so there may be some fields repeated or incorrectly formatted information.

The database sometimes uses language taken from historical documents to help research, which may now appear outdated and even offensive. The database also includes information on objects that are considered secret or sacred by some communities.

If you have any further information about objects in our collections or can suggest corrections to our information, please contact us: