Kava Bowl


From: Samoa Islands | Upolu

Curatorial Section: Oceanian

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Object Number 97-120-571
Current Location Collections Storage
Culture Samoan
Provenience Samoa Islands | Upolu
Date Made ca. 1840
Section Oceanian
Materials Wood
Technique Carved

Round, shallow wood bowl with four legs. Triangular lug with two holes for a hanging cord. Light-colored patina (stain) on bottom of inside, from use. Small rim crack with native plant fiber mend. Written in ink on inside: "Ava Bowl Upolu."

Kava (the crushed leaves of a pepper plant, Piper methysticum, mixed with water, was and is ceremonially consumed in many parts of Melanesia, Polynesia and Micronesia. Ritual surrounding kava consumption includes placement of the kava bowl in relation to participants, seating of participants, and order in which the drink is served to them. Modern Samoan kava bowls have many legs, but early examples like this one have only four.

Height 11 cm
Width 31.2 cm
Outside Diameter 31.2 cm
Credit Line Gift of the Academy of Natural Sciences of Philadelphia, 1997
Other Number L-120-571 - Old Museum Number | 10602 - ANSP Number

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