Rare & Unique - Cow Horn



Our Ankole cow horn products have just arrived from Uganda - and they are breathtaking! Each piece is one of a kind. Individual from their markings and size, to their colour - varying from creamy white, chocolate, grey tones to charcoal black. This work of nature is carefully crafted by expect hands to bring out its best elements and showcase the beauty within.

Organically shaped bowls, beautifully grained tumblers and size defying vases. Natural and authentic products that are completely out of the ordinary. All handmade, unique and have a story and a soul from afar.

Our artisan partners who manufacture the horns are dedicated to preserving the species and recycle horn that would otherwise be waste product. Over several days a discarded cow horn is gradually transformed into a product that is a functional piece of art. 

On arrival from the butchers the horn is dried for five days, soaked and then scrubbed clean. It is then boiled and then scrubbed clean again ready for a multi -step process of cutting, shaping and sanding. The horns are then graded according to colour and size then selected for particular product applications. The solid tips, usually seven to ten inches long, are cut from the hollow base to be used for smaller items. Every effort is made to maximise the use of each horn. 


The horn itself comes from Ugandan Ankole, a species of indigenous cow that is in danger of becoming extinct due to crossbreeding. Their signature horns are central to the culture of Uganda's Bahima tribe. Whose traditional attachment to the Ankole long horned cattle dates back to the days of their ancestors who considered it as a symbol of wealth and prestige. Nowadays the drive for economic gain rather than prestige has forced many herdsmen to acquire foreign breeds like the Holstein-Friesian, that produce a lot of milk, and cross breed. Meaning that the Ankole cow could become extinct within 40 years. 

At KeapSake we don't want this to happen. Through the creation and celebration of these uniquely beautiful Ankole horn products, we hope to establish greater economic value in these animals. Our vision in bringing this product exclusively to the Australasian public includes not only the preservation of the Ankole cattle, but also empowering the communities where their production is located. All of the horn shapers and workers are paid a living wage, so the entire process is holistic and for the good of Uganda. Thanks to Daniel Naude and his book 'Sightings of the Sacred' we can see these majestic animals captured in photographs in all their glory. Hopefully with conservation efforts we will continue to see the Ankole longhorn within the Ugandan landscape for generations to come, and not just in photographs, long gone. 

Ankole cow with herder. Photo: Daniel Naude

Ankole cow with herder. Photo: Daniel Naude

Sophia WillcocksKeapSake