Week 20: Nigerian calabash purse

What kind of plant is this made out of?

Where was it made?

How were the patterns applied?


nigerian calabash purse

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Answers:

What kind of plant is this made out of? Where was it made?

This artifact is made out of a calabash, a gourd which grows on a vine that is cultivated in many parts of the world. This one came from the West African country of Nigeria. In Africa, gourds are put to a wide variety of uses, including household utensils and musical instruments. This one was used as a purse.

How were the patterns applied?

After being cut from the vine the calabash is hollowed out and dried. Once its function is decided it is carved, and sometimes colored. Then red hot knives are used to engrave the designs on the surface.