Prestige weapon

20th century, 1950–2000
Artist Unidentified

Object Place: Republic of the Congo; Democratic Republic of the Congo


Overall: 38 x 39 x 7 cm (14 15/16 x 15 3/8 x 2 3/4 in.)

Accession Number


Medium or Technique

Wood, iron, brass tacks, wire

On View

Richard B. Carter Gallery (Gallery 171)


Africa and Oceania, Contemporary Art


Arms and armor

This Teke axe is adorned with European-made brass furniture tacks. European items such as tacks and buttons would be affixed to prestige items such as this one to elevate the status of its owner. Teke axes are noted for their similarities with Teke figurative sculptures that can feature both natural and abstracted human forms. This axe was likely made for ceremonial contexts.


hand written paper label taped on blade: "axe, Boma Balabo Tribe"


1985, 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