Gold bowl

Mapungubwe Archive1220/1250

University of Pretoria Museums

University of Pretoria Museums
Pretoria, South Africa

The gold hemispherical bowl or vessel from Mapungubwe Hill (AD 1220- Ad 1290) was excavated in 1934 from the Original Gold Grave (M1 A620). This item forms part of the National Heritage Collection and was reconstructed and restored by the British Museum in London in 2001. The gold foil is formed using indigenous technology, folded up from a single foil sheet into a bowl shape, unevenly hammered and formed onto a wood core. Partly shaped by repoussé work, but also pleated near the rim. The edges of the vessel are folded inwards to form a rim. A multitude of small holes in many places around the walls of the bowl, mark the position for nail perforations, evidence of original mounting on a wooded former. Other holes mark places of attachments for decorative appliques; some are surrounded by a circular wear mark or impressions (±1cm), which indicate the original presence of a stud of decorative feature on the outer surface. The actual function of the this gold vessel remains unknown, but it carries symbolic value as a sacred burial object that was once associated with the elite that lived and were buried on Mapungubwe Hill. Mapungubwe was decl


  • Title: Gold bowl
  • Creator: Mapungubwe Archive
  • Date Created: 1220/1250
  • Location Created: South Africa
  • Physical Dimensions: 140mm x 61mm
  • Type: Artifact
  • Original Source: University of Pretoria Museums
  • Rights: Copyright University of Pretoria, Mapungubwe Collection
  • Medium: Gold

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