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Amulet Vessel with Lizard Decoration

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Bookmark: http://triarte.brynmawr.edu/objects-1/info/195442



unknown Mende
Mende (active ) Primary



Amulet Vessel with Lizard Decoration

19th century - 20th century
Horn, Metal

10.79 x 2.6 x 2.6 in. (27.407 x 6.604 x 6.604 cm)

Bryn Mawr College
Accession Number: 2016.14.100
Geography: Africa
Classification: Ceremonial and Performance Artifacts; Ritual Containers and Vessels
Culture/Nationality: Mende, West Africa, African
Collection: Jane Martin Collection

Keywords Click a term to view the records with the same keyword
This object has the following keywords:
  • African - Refers to the cultures of the continent of Africa, which is bounded by the Atlantic Ocean, the Indian Ocean, and the Mediterranean Sea.
  • amulets - Small objects worn as protecting charms, as to ward off evil, harm, or illness, or to bring good fortune. For objects specifically cut with astrological or magical symbols, intended to protect the bearer, but not necessarily worn, use "talismans."
  • containers - Receptacles or formed or flexible coverings designed to hold, store, or ship objects or substances.
  • horn - Material comprising horns, the hard, semitranslucent, proteinaceous structures that grow from the head of some mammals, such as cattle, sheep, goats, and antelope. Horn, like nails, claws, and hooves, is composed of epidermal cells known as keratin. Rhinoceros horns are formed from matted hair. The colours of horn range from a light cream to black. Horn can be cut, engraved, or carved, and has been used since ancient times for tools and ornamentation. The thermoplastic material is softened with steam or boiling water then pressed into numerous shapes. In the 18th century, London was the center of the horn molding industry, primarily making snuff boxes and decorative containers. Distinguished from "antler (material)," which is the fast-growing bone of deer.
  • Mende
  • metal - Any of a large group of substances that typically show a characteristic luster, are good conductors of electricity and heat, are opaque, can be fused, and are usually malleable or ductile.
  • West African - Styles and cultures from the region comprising the westernmost area of the African continent, defined by the United Nations as including the modern nations of Benin, Burkina Faso, Côte d'Ivoire, Cape Verde, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Liberia, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Nigeria, Senegal, Sierra Leone, and Togo.

Additional Images Click an image to view a larger version

Provenance History
  • Owner Name: Jane Martin, Class of 1953
    Role: Donor
    Place: Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania
    Ownership Start Date: October 1984 - November 1984
    Ownership End Date: May 1, 2016


  • Owner Name: Muhammed Sillah
    Role: Seller
    Place: Liberia
    Ownership End Date: October 1984 - November 1984
    Remarks: Likely purchased in Monrovia, Liberia


Bibliography List
The following Bibliography exist for this object:
  • "African Heritage Document and Research Center." (Accessed June 11, 2020): AHDRC.eu. Record No.: 0179634.

Comparanda List
The following Comparanda exist for this object:
  • "National Museum of African Art Online Database." (Accessed April 12, 2020): Smithsonian, https://africa.si.edu/collections/collections. Accession No.: 2012-11-3.
  • "National Museum of African Art Online Database." (Accessed April 12, 2020): Smithsonian, https://africa.si.edu/collections/collections. Accession No.: 77-39-2.
  • Ruth B. Phillips, Representing Woman: Sande Masquerades of the Mende of Sierra Leone (Los Angeles, CA: Fowler Museum of Cultural History, 1995), 124. Figure Number: 6.14
  • Robert J. Koenig, The SMA African Art Museum Guide to Collections (Moonachie, NJ: Galvanic Printing & Plate Co., Inc., 2011), 27. Figure Number: 16a-c
  • Jules Staub, Beiträge zur Kenntnis der materiellen Kultur der Mendi in der Sierra Leone (Solothurn, Derendingen: Vogt-Schild Druck AG, 1936), Figure Number: Tafel XXVII No. 5.

Related Bibliography List
The following Related Bibliography exist for this object:
  • Daniel Mato and Charles Miller III. Sande: Masks and Statues from Liberia and Sierra-Leone (Amsterdam, Netherlands: Gallery Balolu, 1990), 26.
  • "National Museum of African Art Online Database." (Accessed April 12, 2020): Smithsonian, https://africa.si.edu/collections/collections. Accession No.: 2012-11-3.
  • "National Museum of African Art Online Database." (Accessed April 12, 2020): Smithsonian, https://africa.si.edu/collections/collections. Accession No.: 77-39-2.
  • "Alamy." (Accessed May 27, 2020): Alamy.com. Image ID: 2BEDW95.
  • "Absolute Auction & Realty." (Accessed August 14, 2020): Absolute Auctions & Realty, AARauctions.com. https://aarauctions.com/servlet/Search.do?auctionId=2938&itemId=56211.
  • Jules Staub, Beiträge zur Kenntnis der materiellen Kultur der Mendi in der Sierra Leone (Solothurn, Derendingen: Vogt-Schild Druck AG, 1936), Figure Number: Tafel XXVII No. 5.

Portfolio List Click a portfolio name to view all the objects in that portfolio
This object is a member of the following portfolios:

If you would like to cite this object in a Wikipedia article please use the following template:

<ref name=BMC>cite web |url=http://triarte.brynmawr.edu/objects-1/info/195442 |title=Amulet Vessel with Lizard Decoration |author=Bryn Mawr College Library Special Collections |accessdate=5/23/2022 |publisher=Bryn Mawr College</ref>

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