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HOME : African & Tribal Art : Masterpieces of African Art : Yoruba Ivory ceremonial Sword (Udamalore)
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Yoruba Ivory ceremonial Sword (Udamalore) - GDC.019
Origin: Nigeria
Circa: 1800 AD to 1920 AD
Dimensions: 15.25" (38.7cm) high
Collection: African Art
Medium: Ivory
Condition: Extra Fine

Location: United States
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The Udamalore is a ceremonial sword worn by the Olowo and high ranking chiefs during the Igogo Festival in Owo. These objects are usually made of ivory but can also be designed using brass, iron, wood covered in glass beads or a combination of these. The udamalore hangs loosely from the hip on the side of the skirt which is referred to as a ibolukun. Apart from the aesthetic interest it generates during the festival, the udamalore commands respect for the person wearing it. This because it gives the audience important information that the person is "well- born" and not an illegitimate child. Therefore the person wearing this object is regarded as someone from a famous family who is mature, powerful, influential and someone ready to meet the challenges of life. The top of the Udamalore portrays a chiefly figure wearing only a skirt identifiable as the ibolukun in Owo. He holds in his right hand the uda a ceremonial sword carried by the Olowo's page, who is called the omada. The bird perched on the upper right alludes to the powerful, vital presence and assistance of "our mothers". The strong grip of the uda at the hilt represents the power and ability to defend oneself.The uda sword shown also has a practical meaning in this case based on a Yoruba proverb, "one dares not investigate the cause of his father's death without having a firm grasp on the sword," (Ti owo eni ko ba te kuku ida a kii bere iku to pa baba eni). - (GDC.019)


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