Antique African (Taureg) Wooden Bowls
The Tuareg personifies the Western notion of a nomadic culture living in the heart of the Sahara. Ethnic Berbers and the Tuareg divide themselves into Kels, an autonomous sub-tribal federation whose vast territory traverses the borders of Mali, Algeria, and Niger.Our Iwellemmeden Tuareg bowls are from southern Berbere tribes, principally around western Niger. Such bowls are distinct to the Southern Tuareg. Iwellemmeden bowls are distinctive in that they are carved in hemispherical form from a single block of wood hollowed out to a thickness of less than 1/4″.These bowls, incised with geometrical patterns and occasionally Tifinagh lettering, began being exported in limited quantities during the drought in the 1990s as objets d'art. Casa Berbere's examples are among the last remaining and often most coveted. Their age and provenance instantly reconciled by intricate indigenous repairs with scraps of iron, metal, and occasionally leather; the more repairs, the greater the likely antiquity.Innovation and modern convenience come at a cost. Metal, glass, and principally plastic replace a time-honored tradition of carving wood. A practice sacrificed because the large trees required for the raw material no longer exist, let alone the patience and artisan hours needed to do the work.These painstakingly carved marvels are the personification of ancient history. Wood gathered, cut, and carved for practical and ceremonial usage represents a tradition that has ended, probably forever. This particular bowl measures at 12" diameter and has a height of 7".