Porridge Gourd

Amongst many African cultures, the calabash, a type of large gourd, is used as both decoration and a functional tool. A calabash that has been dried and hollowed out can be used as a bag, a bowl, or a spoon. The outside can be lightly carved, painted, or encased in beads to add a decorative aspect to the piece. This calabash was made by the Meru as a porridge container. The Meru are an ethnic group in Kenya located northeast of the country’s capital, Nairobi. The neck of the calabash has been cut and fashioned into a lid and the rest of the calabash remains undecorated, suggesting that the piece was mostly used as a container as opposed to a decoration.