About this artwork
Ceremonial swords with elaborate beaded sheaths and hilts are the prerogative of Yoruba kings and high-ranking chiefs in the Owo region. On the face of this sheath is a horse and rider, a symbol of power and prestige, while its overhanging flaps feature hunters holding rifles and a man wearing a European-style hat. During the 18th or early 19th century, European-inspired fashions gained prestige for many Africans. [See 1991.385a-b]. Above the hunters’ heads are birds, references to the supernatural powers of women, without whose cooperation a community could not thrive. It is likely that the same artist made the sword and sheath, as well as the panels below them, as a matched set. During festivals such panels were worn draped over a belt at the left hip.
Currently Off View
- Arts of Africa
- Oba's Dagger and Sheath (Udamalore and èwu)
- Cloth, wood, glass beads, and thread
- Gift of Deborah Stokes and Jeffrey Hammer