In the ancient societies of Africa and Oceania, the traditional and spiritual use of metal alloys, such as bronze and copper, alongside exotic materials like ivory, marine ivory, bone, nephrite, gourd and coconut, was nothing short of awe-inspiring! These civilizations, with their exquisite craftsmanship and secular creativity, elevated these materials to new heights, infusing them with spiritual significance and cultural pride.
Metal in particular was the prerequisite of respected craftsmen, to fashion intricate ornaments and sacred objects which embodied power, wealth, and divine connections. Meanwhile, the luxurious ivory and the enigmatic marine ivory became a symbol of prestige and elegance. Its delicate texture and ethereal beauty were meticulously shaped into intricate carvings and talismans, transcending the realms of mere craftsmanship.
Not to be overshadowed, bones, shells, stone, earth, and wood of course, contributed their unique charms to the tapestry of ancient African and Oceanic cultures.
Each artifact presented here, be it ritual, ceremonial or ornamental, whisper tales of ancestral traditions and connects the present with the past.
Laurent Granier, June 2023