Sep 17, 2009
Sep 17, 2009
Sep 17, 2009

Ceremonial Axe

Ceremonial Axe

before 1916

Iron, wood, and copper

Overall: 26.7 cm (10 1/2 in.); Handle: 43.2 cm (17 in.)

Gift of J. H. Wade 1916.739



Songye artists working in various metals produced a variety of ornamental objects, like this one used as an insignia of high office. Each column supporting the blade was decorated with a face, then forged, and twisted individually before being welded in place to create an intricate openwork design. The wooden handle is completely covered in copper, a precious metal reserved for rulers.

See also
African Art
African Art
Type of artwork: 
Arms and Armor
Credit line: 
Gift of J. H. Wade

Contact us

The information about this object, including provenance information, is based on historic information and may not be currently accurate or complete. Research on objects is an ongoing process, but the information about this object may not reflect the most current information available to CMA. If you notice a mistake or have additional information about this object, please email

To request more information about this object, study images, or bibliography, contact the Ingalls Library Reference Desk.

Request a digital file from Image Services that is not available through CC0, a detail image, or any image with a color bar. If you have questions about requesting an image, please email