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    Description

    BAMANA HAND FORGED IRON STAFF
    (MALI, WESTERN AFRICA)

    The use of forged iron staffs made by blacksmiths is a very old tradition perhaps dating back to the 13th century among the Bamana and other Mande-speaking peoples. Staffs are admired as tangible proof of a blacksmith's great skill and revered for the power they embody.

    The Bamana iron staff typically has a long shaft with one or more piercings whose edges are split and flattened. The shaft supports a very elongated male or female figure whose arms, held well away from the torso, end in greatly enlarged hands. There is little facial detail. An upright spear blade may rise above the figure, as here.

    Although the meanings of these iron staffs are gradually being lost, there is still consensus that their figures represent ancestors or beings from creation myths, while spear blades are protective. Staffs are owned by individuals, families or associations. They may be family symbols of chiefs, displayed in front of the entrance to a chief's house for offerings made to the ancestors. They may also appear at dances to receive offerings that increase their protective power or augment the inherent power of forged iron. Staffs may sometimes be used for the protection of an entire community, placed in the crowns of trees or buried to exert unseen and pervasive protective power.

    Height: approximately 50 inches


    Condition Report*: Condition report available upon request.
    *Heritage Auctions strives to provide as much information as possible but encourages in-person inspection by bidders. Statements regarding the condition of objects are only for general guidance and should not be relied upon as complete statements of fact, and do not constitute a representation, warranty or assumption of liability by Heritage. Some condition issues may not be noted in the condition report but are apparent in the provided photos which are considered part of the condition report. Please note that we do not de-frame lots estimated at $1,000 or less and may not be able to provide additional details for lots valued under $500. All lots are sold "AS IS" under the Terms & Conditions of Auction.

    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    May, 2015
    15th Friday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 1
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
    Page Views: 484

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