This dramatic large African calabash gourd has been beautifully hand painted in a black and beige meandering wave pattern. The gourd itself was dried, dyed a vivid rusty red-orange-brown and smoothly polished. The stem was sliced off the neck and the opening cut out leaving irregularly shaped edges.
Gourd decoration is an ancient craft in Africa; they have a tough, waterproof shell that makes them useful as bottles and jars, for storage of both liquids and dry goods. There are still seeds and twigs in the bottom of this gourd, so it served as a functional work of art.
Measuring 12 inches tall, this calabash is 10 inches across the belly, with a circumference of 38 inches. Belying its large size, it weighs just a pound. Other than a small chip off the paint (photograph # 4, center), it's in excellent condition, with the bottom patch completely intact. It sits firmly and evenly on flat surfaces and catches your eye wherever it's placed.