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Ceremonial Axe

Ceremonial Axe

before 1916

Iron, wood, and copper

Overall: 26.7 cm (10 1/2 in.); Handle: 43.2 cm (17 in.)

Gift of J. H. Wade 1916.739

Description

Songye artists working in various metals produced a variety of ornamental objects, like this one used as an insignia of high office. Each column supporting the blade was decorated with a face, then forged, and twisted individually before being welded in place to create an intricate openwork design. The wooden handle is completely covered in copper, a precious metal reserved for rulers.

See also
Collection: 
African Art
Department: 
African Art
Type of artwork: 
Arms and Armor
Credit line: 
Gift of J. H. Wade

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