Art and Life Among the Zaramo of Tanzania

by Diane Pelrine
Indiana University Art Museum

A coconut grater in the form of a collapsible wooden stool with a serrated metal blade on one end, Zaramo peoples, Tanzania. Photo by Diane Pelrine.

 

Another carved object and one that is seen in nearly every Zaramo household, particularly on the coast, is a coconut grater in the form of a collapsible wooden stool with a serrated metal blade on one end.  People take pride in the graters, which are nearly always decorated with a variety of geometric patterns that may be incised or burned into the surface.  A person generally orders one from a nearby woodcarver, and a woman is expected to bring one to her marriage.  A graters is often used simply as a stool, particularly if, as sometimes happens, the metal blade breaks off.