Intersections

The Versatile Gourd

The fruit of the gourd, one of Africa’s earliest cultivated plants, has long been employed for purposes ranging from the obvious to the ingenious. The hollowed-out shells of gourds are used for storage or for serving food and drink. Gourds may also be used to make musical instruments, smoking pipes, fishing floats, or ritual regalia. The bowls shown here are from northeastern Nigeria where distinctive designs can be identified with particular ethnic groups and even particular artists. Women decorate most gourds, and this is a primary means for them to express their creativity and technical mastery. When food is served in these beautifully ornamented bowls, it is said that the meal becomes “better to eat.”

  • X83.677 Bowl

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    Object Name: Bowl

    Artist: Mairamu Kubo (active mid-20th century)

    Cultural Group: Dera peoples

    Place of Origin: Nigeria

    Date: Circa 1970

    Dimension: Gourd

    Materials Used: L: 20.9 cm, D: 23.5 cm (L: 8.2 in, D: 9.3 in)

    Credit Line and Assession Number: Fowler Museum at UCLA. Gift of Barbara Rubin-Hudson. X83.677

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  • X83.687 Bowl

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    Bowl
    Artist: Jumai Pitiri Gulcoss
    Tera peoples
    Nigeria
    Circa 1970
    Gourd
    H: 11.5 cm, Diam: 24.0 cm (H: 4.5 in, Diam: 9.4 in)
    Fowler Museum at UCLA. Gift of Barbara Rubin-Hudson. X83.687

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  • X83.797 Bowl

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    Bowl
    Kanuri peoples
    Nigeria
    Circa 1970
    Gourd
    L: 11.2 in, D: 11.7 in (L: 4.4 in, D: 4.6 in)
    Gift of Barbara Rubin-Hudson. X83.797

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  • X85.12 Bowl

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    Bowl
    Artist: Ndinuwa Jebre
    Gaäanda peoples
    Nigeria
    1974
    Gourd and charcoal
    H: 12.2 cm, L: 24.5 cm, W: 17.5 cm (H: 4.8 in, L: 9.6 in, W: 6.9 in)
    Fowler Museum at UCLA. Gift of Bruce and Linda Friedman. X85.12

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  • X85.51 Bowl

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    Bowl
    Waja peoples
    Nigeria
    Circa 1980
    Gourd and chalk
    H: 23.6 cm, D: 24.6 cm (H: 9.3 in, D: 9.7 in)
    Gift of Bruce and Linda Friedman. X85.51

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