Wisdom Basket (Translation)
Kweemishaam’l (Primary Title)

Unknown (Artist)

19th-20th century
Decorative Arts
Raffia, cane, cowries, glass beads, copper
Democratic Republic of Congo
Overall (including handle): 22 × 15 1/2 in. dia. at widest (55.88 × 39.37 cm)
A wisdom basket, called kweemishaam’l in Kuba, is a prominent part of kingly regalia, serving as a container for royal amulets. When holding an audience with his people, the king rests his elbow on a wisdom basket as he speaks. The basket and its lid are framed in cane and covered by raffia cloth. The surface of this basket is elaborately decorated with cowries, glass beads, and copper disks in precisely organized designs. This object reveals the artist’s mastery of geometric patterning, which is the fundamental characteristic in the design of Kuba regalia and art.
Adolph D. and Wilkins C. Williams Fund
Image released via Creative Commons CC-BY-NC

Some object records are not complete and do not reflect VMFA's full and current knowledge. VMFA makes routine updates as records are reviewed and enhanced.