Enquiry about object: 7180

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    Unusual Zulu Wirework Gourd Dance Rattle

    Zulu People, Southern Africa
    early 20th century

    width of gourd: 8cm, length (including handle): 29cm, weight: 60g

    Available Enquire


    UK art market

    This gourd, with a wonderful deep patina, has a long, turned wooden handle attached, and has been made into a rattle. (There is something loose inside the gourd which rattles as it is shaken).

    The gourd has been decorated with brass and copper wire in various crescent and other geometric motifs – the wire has been ‘sewn’ into the surface of the gourd.

    Such brass and copper wire work is more usually seen on Zulu gourd snuff bottles. Here it has been used to decorate a gourd-based dance rattle.

    The wire used to decorate gourd containers and knobkierrie clubs often was sourced by pillaging telegraph cables during early colonial days much to the annoyance of the colonial authorities!

    See Klopper et al (2007, p. 207) for an example of a gourd snuff box dance staff.

    The rattle here is in fine condition and has obvious age. There are no losses to the wirework.



    Klopper, S., A, Nettleton & T. Pethica, The Art of Southern Africa: The Terence Pethica Collection, 5 Continents, 2007.

    Petridis, C., The Art of Daily Life: Portable Objects from Southeast Africa, 5 Continents, 2011.

    Zaloumis, A., Zulu Tribal Art, Amazulu, 2000.

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