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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.5069
Origin: Southwestern Nigeria
Circa: 20 th Century AD
Dimensions: 23.75" (60.3cm) 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 intricate patterns which nearly cover the entire surface of the sword are divided into the upper section of the blade, a central panel with three vertical bands, two main horizontal bands, and the squares on the handle. Repeated geometric motifs are striated ellipses, squares with concentric circles in the middle, tight knit embossed dots, and wavy lines or semi-circles. This overall floral effect is varied by the addition of three aquatic animals on the outer rim of the blade. They appear to be a lizard with a long tail, a fish and a tortoise. Though abstract in design these creatures have a definite life and character, seeming to swim in their own realm above the network of wild growth surrounding them.
- (PF.5069)


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