Ceremonial basket adorned with cowrie shells

  • Image for Ceremonial basket adorned with cowrie shells
  • Image for Ceremonial basket adorned with cowrie shells
  • Image for Ceremonial basket adorned with cowrie shells
  • Image for Ceremonial basket adorned with cowrie shells
  • Image for Ceremonial basket adorned with cowrie shells
5 images
Created by
Unidentified
Medium
fiber and cowrie shell
Dimensions
H x W x D: 5 5/8 × 6 1/2 × 6 1/2 in. (14.3 × 16.5 × 16.5 cm)
Type
baskets
Place made
Mossuril, Nampula, Mozambique, Africa
Place used
Cape Town, Western Cape, South Africa, Africa
Date
2015
Caption
This cowrie shell basket was created by artisans in Mossuril, Mozambique, in 2015 to hold soil from the region, which was then deposited at the site of the São José shipwreck. After a solemn ceremony on May 30, 2015, the village and tribal elder in Mossuril, Evano Nhogache, entrusted this basket to Lonnie Bunch, instructing him to place the enclosed soil as close to the wreck site as possible to symbolically reconnect those Mozambicans who were lost with their homeland. He then asked that the basket become part of the collections of the NMAAHC. On June 2, 2015, at a second memorial in Clifton, the soil was poured into the ocean near the wreck site. The slave ship São José Paquete Africa sank on December 3, 1794 off the coast of South Africa. It had left Mozambique 24 days prior bound for Maranhão, Brazil.
Description
A basket created by artisans in Mossuril, Mozambique for ceremonial transport of soil from Mozambique to the site of the São José shipwreck in Cape Town, South Africa. The round basket is in two parts, a base and lid, and is made from worked plant material. Cowrie shells placed closely together adorn and cover the outside of both the top and bottom of basket.
Topic
African American
Africa
Craftsmanship
Folklife
Middle Passage
Ornamentation
Trans Atlantic slave trade
Credit Line
Collection of the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture
Object number
2016.168
Restrictions & Rights
No Known Copyright Restrictions
See more items in
National Museum of African American History and Culture Collection
Classification
Slavery and Freedom Objects
Decorative Arts, Craft, and Design
Tools and Equipment-Ceremonial Tools
Data Source
National Museum of African American History and Culture

NOTE: Cataloging is an ongoing process and we may update this record as we conduct additional research and review. If you have more information about this object, please contact us at NMAAHCDigiTeam@si.edu.