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.
Currently Off View
- Arts of Africa
- Ceremonial Sword (Ape)
- Iron, leather, and ivory or bone
- Gift of Diane Wedner and Ron Ziskin