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    Description

    Yoruba, Ekiti or Igbomina subgroup (Nigeria, Western Africa)
    Ritual axe for Ogun
    Wood and iron
    Height: 20-3/4 inches

    Ogun is the Yoruba god of iron, and all those who work with iron, such as warriors, blacksmiths, hunters and many others, depend on this metal for their health and livelihood. This object would have been held and wielded by a Yoruba devotee during rituals, and then put to rest within a shrine.

    The kneeling female with waist beads, neck amulet, and pierced ears offers her breasts as an indication of welcome and nurturing. Her gesture opens communication between the living and the divine. The prominent head on top of the woman's head and the iron axe blade may symbolize Ogun's presence. This axe handle is very well carved, as can be seen in the facial features of both heads, and in the treatment of the woman's coiffure and toes. Dr. Henry Drewal, a foremost expert on Yoruba art, states, in discussing this axe, that "The imaginative hand of a master sculptor is evident in this piece. The dramatic embellishment of the eyes and the delicate texturing of the head are unique, as is the blade-like head that rides above the kneeling female." (See letter of expertise below.)

    The figurative axe handle and the iron blade, with attractive corrosion, are in excellent condition.

    PROVENANCE:
    Galerie Valluet, Paris, 1999.

    NOTE:
    This piece is accompanied by a letter of expertise from Dr. Henry Drewal, Evjue-Bascom Professor of Art History and Afro-American Studies at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and Adjunct Curator of African Art at the Chazen Museum of Art, UW-Madison, dated April 10, 2014.


    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.

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    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    May, 2014
    16th Friday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 1
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
    Page Views: 1,573

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