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HOME : African & Tribal Art : African Weapons : Yoruba Brass Ceremonial Knife
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Yoruba Brass Ceremonial Knife - PF.5075
Origin: Southwestern Nigeria
Circa: 19 th Century AD to 20 th Century AD
Dimensions: 19.75" (50.2cm) high
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 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.

A vertical shaft, the center of which is a series of concentric circles, forms the core of the ornamentation on the blade. It is like the shaft of a plant, bordered by rows of small circles to which are attached striated semi-circles. From each join of these arches, or semi-circles, a row of dots extend horizontally to connect with a concentric circle on either side. The result is a series of rectangles framing the inner floral shape. This unique configuration turns the blade into an abstract leaf, which is both lovely and intriguing.
- (PF.5075)


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