Prestige axe

20th century, 1950–2000
Artist Unidentified

Object Place: Democratic Republic of the Congo


Overall: 46 x 30 x 6 cm (18 1/8 x 11 13/16 x 2 3/8 in.)

Accession Number


Medium or Technique

Metal, wood

On View

Richard B. Carter Gallery (Gallery 171)


Africa and Oceania, Contemporary Art


Arms and armor

This particular axe is attributed to the Nsapo, a Songye subgroup. Although this axe is rather simple looking, the copper inlay in the middle of the blade and the abstract geometric patterns that adorn the blade indicate that this was a prestige weapon belonging to a high-ranking individual.


red plastic label: 64


1967, sold by Michel Huguenin, Galerie Majestic, Paris, to 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