Object Name: Pot lid
Cultural Group: Woyo peoples
Place of Origin: Democratic Republic of the Congo and Angola
Date: Late 19th-early 20th century
Dimensions: H: 5.00 cm, DIAM: 15.00 cm
Materials Used: Wood
Credit Line and Accession Number: Fowler Museum at UCLA. Museum Purchase with funds provided by Jay T. Last. X99.26.24
Among the Woyo peoples of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, women used specially carved wooden lids on the ceramic pots in which they served food to convey certain kinds of messages to their husbands. The designs on the lids formed a visual language of proverbs and moral stories through which a wife could express fundamental aspects of a successful marriage or relay her displeasure with her husband’s behavior. As husbands ate communally with other men, a wife’s grievances were made public, signaling that household harmony was a community issue. The bird at the center of one pot lid may refer to the threats of a neglected wife to leave her husband.