Ceremonial Sword (Ape)

A work made of iron, leather, and ivory or bone.

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  • A work made of iron, leather, and ivory or bone.

Date:

Mid–20th century

Artist:

Yoruba
Ijebu-Owo quarter, Owo, Nigeria
Coastal West Africa

About this artwork

With its circular handle, foliate-shaped blade, and detailed openwork, this ceremonial sword illustrates associations between the Yoruba kingdom of Owo and the Benin kingdom to the south. A strong connection between the two existed by the 16th century, and much of Owo’s regalia derived from Benin’s royal court. In Owo ceremonial swords may belong to a king or his chiefs. The openwork on this sword identifies the courtly title of its original owner. Olufowose can be translated as “one who has made money and used it properly,” and Alaijebi means “one who is innocent.” Together the title suggests a rank gained fairly through sudden wealth.

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Arts of Africa

Artist

Yoruba

Title

Ceremonial Sword (Ape)

Origin

Nigeria

Date

1925–1975

Medium

Iron, leather, and ivory or bone

Credit Line

Gift of Diane Wedner and Ron Ziskin

Reference Number

2000.497

Extended information about this artwork

Object information is a work in progress and may be updated as new research findings emerge. To help improve this record, please email .

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