Requires Photography

Club

Zulu peoples
20th century
Artist Unidentified


Object Place: South Africa

Dimensions

Overall: 79 x 7 x 7 cm (31 1/8 x 2 3/4 x 2 3/4 in.)

Accession Number

2009.2558

Medium or Technique

wood, wire

Not On View

Collections

Africa and Oceania, Contemporary Art

Classifications

Axes, maces, clubs

Iron knives, swords, and other weapons are more than armaments; they are powerful symbols of prestige and authority. Many weapons are intricately adorned with abstract geometric patterns, figurative elements, western-made objects, and copper accents, all of which are intended to increase the status of the object’s owner. In addition to the functional and ceremonial aspects of African weaponry, iron blades were excellent trade items that could function as currency.

The handles of Zulu clubs and axes are both adorned with winding patterns carved into them. Similarly decorated handles can be found amongst the Tonga and Mangwato.

Provenance

Geneviève McMillan (b. 1922 - d. 2008), Cambridge, MA; 2008, to the Geneviève McMillan and Reba Stewart Foundation, Cambridge; 2009, gift of the Geneviève McMillan and Reba Stewart Foundation to the MFA. (Accession Date: June 17, 2009)

Credit Line

Gift of Geneviève McMillan in memory of Reba Stewart