Ceremonial Axe


Not on view

While the overall shape of this elegant axe is similar to the example at left, it is slightly more imposing and presents a different iconography: a succession of abstract geometric motifs extend from the handle’s top down its shaft, finishing with two projecting conical shapes. These can be read as figurative details, unequivocally alluding to female breasts. While such axes were owned and used exclusively by men, this example, like many other ritual and ceremonial weapons in southern Africa, was symbolically perceived to be of female gender.

Ceremonial Axe, Wood, metal, Shona

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