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Turkana Fat Container "Eburi"

Turkana Fat Container "Eburi"

Regular price €245,00
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Turkana people, mid. 20th century, Kenya.

Fascinating and unique container, called eburi (also akgitum or abur) are made and used by Turkana women for storing animal fat for domestic and cosmetic use. The cylindrical outer shape is carved with an adze (arong) from a trunk of a delonix elata (called ekuruchanait by the Turkana people) or Ekware wood (Gardenia volkensi). It is then hollowed out by using a long metal point (ekeiticht). Both ends are then covered with cowhide or goat leather, stretched and shaped in wet sand. The hide forming the lid, bottom, and the handles of the container would have been harvested through the process of akiyeng, meaning "to skin with a knife". The types of fat stored in large eburi are butterfat (akidetet), ghee (akimet) and bone marrow (akimet akoit). Small-sized eburi are used for storing emunyen (goat or cattle fat mixed with ochre) and used by women for decorative purposes, moisturizing, relieving chafing, and preventing body lice.

Very good condition. Wear consistent with age and use. Fraying and stiffening of carrying strap. Some losses to hair on the hide. Dark and greasy surface patina from years of use. Evidence of fat storage due to light odor. Size approx. 21,0cm x 12,5cm x 12,0cm.

Provenance: From the estate of a Swedish painter and pop artist Sven Inge Höglund (1935-2008). Foundation for Innovative Art.

For a similar examples see:

Container, The British Museum, Accession Number: Af1983,10.6 (

Butter container, Horniman Museum & Gardens, Accession Number: 2010.22 (

Container, Museum of Anthropology: University of British Columbia, Accession Number: 0705/0004 a-b (

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