University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology

Mangbetu Effigy Vessel [Object of the Day #74]

By: Alyssa Kaminski

October 1, 2012

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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