Prestige weapon

Teke peoples
20th century


Object Place: Democratic Republic of the Congo

Dimensions

Overall: 32.4 x 30.5 cm (12 3/4 x 12 in.)

Accession Number

2009.5350

Medium or Technique

Wood, iron, brass tacks

Not On View

Collections

Africa and Oceania, Contemporary Art

Classifications

Warfare, hunting, fishing

Iron knives, swords, and axes are more than armaments; they are powerful symbols of prestige and authority. Many weapons, including this Teke prestige axe, 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. This axe is adorned with brass tacks of European manufacture.

Provenance

1980s, acquired in Paris by anonymous donors; 2009, year-end anonymous gift to the MFA. (Accession date: January 20, 2010)

Credit Line

Anonymous gift