X90.182 Door lintel

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Door lintel
Lamu, Kenya
Swahili peoples
Acquired in 1990
L: 144 cm, W: 18.2 cm (L: 56.6 in, W: 7.1 in)
Fowler Museum at UCLA. The Jerome L. Joss Collection. X90.182


During the post-1780 period, an elaborate, deeply carved curvilinear floral design known as the “Zanzibar” style swept the Swahili Coast. This style appeared on furniture and household objects, as well as doors and door frames. With Lamu Island’s narrow streets and high, windowless stone walls, these elaborately carved wooden doors were used not only to give a house a unique identity, but to also indicate the wealth and status of the owner.

Source: Ross, Doran H. ed. (1994): “Visions of Africa”, Los Angeles, UCLA Fowler Museum of Cultural History. page 150

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