MAf 14770 a, b

Please find more information about the object below the image.

Producer unknown to us

Basket with lid

Africa, Rwanda, Tutsi

Prior to 1907

Bast, plaited

Adolf Friedrich zu Mecklenburg (Governor of the German colony Togo) collected the basket during the „deutsche wissenschaftliche Zentral-Afrika-Expedition 1907–1908”

Transferred to the museum by zu Mecklenburg in 1909

MAf 14770

The basket (igiseke) was made by women on the territory of present-day Rwanda at the beginning of the 20th century to store food. Duke Adolf Friedrich zu Mecklenburg took the basket into his possession during the German Central Africa Expedition from 1907 to 1908. At that time zu Mecklenburg categorized the basket as a product of Tutsi women. This assumption, however, goes back to the racializing categorization of European, especially German, travelers from the end of the 19th century. However, research has shown that the baskets were made by very talented women, regardless of a specific community.

The Expedition was planned by the Royal Museum of Ethnology in Berlin and was under the patronage and direction of Mecklenburg. During the expedition, 4,000 objects, 1,017 human remains, 87 phonograph recordings, several rocks, and zoological objects were collected, and 37 languages were documented. The objects were destined for the Royal Museum of Ethnology in Berlin and the Museum of Ethnology in Leipzig. Hans Meyer, therefore, became financially involved in advance with the aim that the Leipzig museum should participate in the acquisition of the collection. In the process, the ethnographic collection was divided equally, with the human remains and phonograph recordings becoming the exclusive property of the Berlin museum.

Stefanie Bach