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HOME : African & Tribal Art : Miscellaneous : African Art / Yoruba / Yoruba Brass Udamalore Ceremonial Sword
African Art / Yoruba / Yoruba Brass Udamalore Ceremonial Sword - PF.5086
Origin: Southwestern Nigeria
Circa: 20 th Century AD
Dimensions: 20.75" (52.7cm) high
Collection: African
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.

The highly abstract design on this blade is quite unique. At the top we see an anthropomorphic figure whose body is created by a simple triangle of double lines at the sides. The legs are also double lines, projecting at right angles. An ellipse shape with sharp edges is used for the head, with lines radiating from the sides, meeting at the center to form six equal sections. A similar, smaller figure with arms raised is at the bottom, its head in a 'house-shape' with two sides and a triangular 'roof'. This figure stands upon a series of vertical shapes extending to the hilt. The primitive nature of the designs adds to their mystery and power.
- (PF.5086)


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