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Trio of Axes

Songye People

Democratic Republic of Congo

Wood, iron, copper

Circa 1900

Provenance: Old Belgium colonial collection ; European private collection.

Custom brass stands by Romain Laforêt.

These axes were not utilitarian but status objects, usually carried on the shoulder by Songye Chiefs or high rank individuals.

Everything is symbolic about them. First the shape of the blade is a primordial and extremely ancient shape, as attested by archeological finds in Central Africa. The iron is a powerful magical element, reserved to the use of Songye blacksmiths. Copper is another important element, it was the gold of central Africa, and was produced in Katanga in particular. Iron is symbolizing the color 'white' (nurturing, procreation) and copper 'red' (hot, life, blood, power). You can find these two colors associated on many works from the region. Furthermore the little dots and moon crescents on the blade also relate to Songye fundamental cosmogonie and primordial beings, related to planets (Dunja Hersak)

So these are not really axes but important symbolic, religious and power objects. Love the fantastic quality of blacksmithing and patina on these. One is completely covered in copper plates. 


H: 38, 39,5 & 41,5 cm (15, 15 1/2 & 16 1/3 inches)

Price for the collection: 2800 euros enquiry

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