Medicine man's bag, Congo, West Africa, 1871-1910

1871-1910 in Democratic Republic of Congo

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Leather bag from medicine man's outfit decorated with fringe of beads with coiled leather discs, fibre draw string at top, Congolese, 1871-1910

Herbs, minerals and objects for divination were held in this leather bag. It was used by a shaman in the Congo region of West Africa. Shamen were referred to as medicine men. The bag was made in the late 1800s. It forms part of a larger outfit worn by a shaman. The drawstring bag is fringed with beads made of small seeds and coiled leather disks. These distinctive accessories identify healers and show their status within their community.


Ethnography and Folk Medicine
Object Number:
fibre, glass, beads, leather
medicine pouch
  • furnishing and equipment
  • container - receptacle

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