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HOME : African & Tribal Art : African Weapons : Yoruba Brass Udamalore Ceremonial Sword
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Yoruba Brass Udamalore Ceremonial Sword - PF.5057
Origin: Southwestern Nigeria
Circa: 20 th Century AD
Dimensions: 20" (50.8cm) high
Collection: African Art
Medium: Brass

Location: United States
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The ceremonial sword is an important symbol of power and authority. High ranking individuals wear the udamalore, (a small, ornate ceremonial sword), during festivals to distinguish themselves as someone of importance. At Ilesha, (central Yorubaland), the chief strikes the blade of his sword on the earth three times when he greets Ogun, god of iron. Swords are not only emblems of wealth, but also of the power latent within the metal itself to cause either destruction, or to be used for protection. Just as an individual possessing power, both earthly and spiritual, may use the weapon for aggressive or passive purposes depending upon his judgment and wisdom.

Iconography typical of such swords is given remarkable expression on the surface of the blade. At the top an inverted bird holds onto a thick zig-zag band, which may be a snake. On either side and above the bird are two floral emblems composed of small circles surrounding a larger motif of concentric circles. A beautiful zoomorphic creature, more reptilian than animal, stands upon a finely engraved bird with a long curved beak. Below the bird are four horizontal panels of triangles, circles with 'orbiting' small circles and striated 'humps' or semi-circles filled with a checkerboard pattern. The delicate engraving and creative imagery, which is like a jungle of plants and animals seen through the eyes of abstraction, makes this sword a delight to behold.
- (PF.5057)


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