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HOME : African & Tribal Art : African Weapons : Yoruba Brass Ceremonial Knife
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Yoruba Brass Ceremonial Knife - PF.5073
Origin: Southwestern Nigeria
Circa: 20 th Century AD
Dimensions: 18.375" (46.7cm) high x 2.5" (6.4cm) wide
Collection: African Art
Medium: Brass

Location: United States
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The ceremonial sword and knife are important symbols of power and authority. High ranking individuals wear the udamalore (a small, ornate ceremonial sword) during festivals to designate them as someone of prestige. 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 and knifes are emblems not only of wealth, but also of the power latent within the metal itself to cause either destruction or to protect. 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.

The end point of this knife has a series of three rows of circles merging at the tip. Six bands of varying thicknesses alternate designs of a different character. At the hilt the pattern is five vertical rows of figure eights, each with its circles filled with striations. Between these two sets of configurations is a band containing alternating bars of diagonal striations and circles. This arrangement is repeated on a slightly larger scale higher up, bordered by two rows of triangles on either side. The result is a highly geometric pattern with floral overtones.
- (PF.5073)


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