Smoking and Drinking

By Victoria Rovine
University of Florida (formerly University of Iowa)

Democratic Republic of the Congo; Kuba (Bushoong) peoples

Cup

Wood, camwood powder

H 18.5 cm (7 ΒΌ ")

The University of Iowa Museum of Art, The Stanley Collection, X1990.636

Early European visitors to the powerful Kuba kingdoms of central Democratic Republic of the Congo were amazed by the sophistication of Kuba woodcarving, metalwork, and embroidery. In fact, early observers assumed that Kuba artists could not themselves have created these objects but must have been influenced by Western art, an assumption in keeping with the racist attitudes of many early Western visitors to the continent. Characterized by intricate curvilinear designs and smoothly finished surfaces, Kuba woodcarving adorns a wide variety of utilitarian objects, from storage boxes and pipes to drums and figurative sculpture.