University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology

Mangbetu Effigy Vessel [Object of the Day #74]

By: Alyssa Kaminski

Effigy Vessel
Effigy Vessel


Throughout the Penn Museum collection there are objects known as effigy vessels. These vessels are found in countries ranging from Mexico to Africa – but what exactly IS an effigy vessel? Commonly, they are defined as containers that are sculpted in the likeness of a human or an animal.
The one pictured above originated in Zaire from the¬†Mangbetu culture. Like most effigy vessels it is ceramic.¬†It is also anthropomorphic, representing a person with an elongated skull and a “swept-up” hair style.

Penn Museum Object #AF5360

See this and other objects like it on Penn Museum’s Online Collection Database

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