Tsonga/Shangaan medicine gourd, South Africa.


Origins Centre

Origins Centre
Johannesburg, South Africa

Anthropomorphic vessels were used by traditional healers in Mpumalanga, South Africa. They were used to ward off evil, either that sent as a form of witchcraft by another person or that sent by disgruntled ancestors.
The task of the traditional healer is to identify the cause of the sickness or misfortune and then the prescribe suitable medicine that will end the problem.

Protective medicine was then placed inside the gourds and the gourds given to the patient.


  • Title: Tsonga/Shangaan medicine gourd, South Africa.
  • Creator: Tsonga
  • Date Created: 1950
  • Location Created: South Africa
  • Type: Medicine gourd
  • Original Source: Wits Art Museum and Standard Bank Art Collection.
  • Rights: Origins Centre
  • Medium: Calabash, beads
  • time period: 20th Century AD.

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