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Scepter

Scepter

late 1800s-early 1900s

Ivory

Overall: 28 x 2.5 x 4 cm (11 x 1 x 1 9/16 in.)

René and Odette Delenne Collection, Leonard C. Hanna, Jr. Fund 2010.447

Fun Fact

Scepters often represent the chief sitting atop a bound prisoner or attribute to a violent death.

Description

Used by male chiefs, ivory scepters were symbols of status indicating worldly authority and supernatural influence. The use of ivory implies that the chief has the fatal power of an elephant. The figurine shows a chief enthroned on the bound body of a criminal destined for such a death. A medicine package would have been enclosed within the container extending from the figure’s head, bestowing supernatural powers.

See also
Collection: 
African Art
Department: 
African Art
Type of artwork: 
Ivory
Medium: 
Ivory

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