Maasai Drinking Horn Lal
Maasai Drinking Horn Lal
Maasai people, early to mid. 20th century, Kenya
Fantastic old drinking horn (lal) from Kenya. Drinking horns and milk containers are vital objects in a culture where raising cattle is of central importance. Drinking horn was cut from a cow by a craftsman, after the cow had been slaughtered. It was used for drinking local beer, water or for storing fat. Maasai men carried them around on their belts. They were treasured, mended when broken, and used for years.
Maasai are an indigenous ethnic group inhabiting northern, central and southern Kenya and northern Tanzania. The pastoral Maasai are fully nomadic, wandering in bands throughout the year and subsisting almost entirely on the meat, blood and milk of their herds. The measure of a man's wealth is in terms of cattle and children. The monotheistic Maasai worship a supreme being and creator known as Enkai and serves as the guardian over rain, fertility, love and the sun. Enkai has a dual nature: Enkai Narok (Black God) is benevolent, and Enkai Na-nyokie (Red God) is vengeful. It was Enkai who gave cattle to the Maasai people. There are also minor deities like Neiterkob, the mediator between God and men. Goddess of the Moon (Olapa) is married to Enkai.
Drinking horn are in good condition. Age-related wear, chip and signs of long usage. Deep dark brown, almost black colour. Beautiful polished patina. Size approx. 29,0cm x 5,8cm x 7,1cm.
Provenance: Finnish private collection
For a similar example see:
Cup, Drinking Horn, Kenyan, Imperial War Museums, Accession number: EPH 129 (https://www.iwm.org.uk/collections/item/object/30080614)
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