Maasai ‘Kibuyu’ Gourd

A lovely mid – later 20th century drinking gourd from the Massai people.
Tribe: Maasai

Origin: Kenya / Tanzania

Approx Age: Mid – later 20th century

Materials: Gourd, leather, cowrie shell and glass beads

Dimensions cm: 27 tall

Ref. Number: 1002


A wonderful used Maasai ‘Kibuyu’ gourd adorned with a leather strap to fasten to a garment to be carried also linked to the leather made lid so it does not get lost. Very small decoration on the strap of a cowrie shell and an array of glass beads. 

This was collected approximately 35 years ago by a private UK collector.



Such gourds were used to contain a yoghurty blend of milk and blood, the staple food of the Maasai herdsman. They were treasured, mended when broken, and used for years.  Kibuyu is the name that the maasai give to these gourds in Swahili.

Due to the nature of the contents held in these containers the Maasai would burn the inside every so often to sterilise from germs.

Maasai are semi-nomadic people who live in Kenya and northern Tanzania. The Maasai became some kind of a Kenyan symbol, they are one of the best known of African ethnic groups, because they live near the game parks, and have distinctive age-old customs and red colored dress-nanga. Many Maasai tribes throughout Tanzania and Kenya welcome visits to their village to experience their culture, traditions, and lifestyle.

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