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Tribal art - Commander stick:

Much appreciated in interior decoration and by tribal art collectors, the command staff was originally a symbol of authority attributed to the tribal chief. Testifying to the hierarchy within the village, the carved object has a patina of use.

Bemba Command Staff
Tribal art > Commander stick > Bemba Cane

This gnarled stick, surmounted by a carved figure, was the emblem of a notable Bemba. The spherical head offers simply engraved features, the body a frontal posture, large digited hands resting on the abdomen. Golden yellow patina. The Bemba, or Bambembas, from Maniema, claim to be of Luba origin and settled on the banks of Lake Moero, near Zambia, and Lake Tanganyka. The Bemba participated in the slave trade during the 19th century by allying themselves with the slave king Msiri. Colonial policy dispersed them in the twentieth century. Their leader now rules at Kasama in Zambia. They believe in a supreme god, Lesa , worship nature spirits, Ngulu , a snake named lunga , and mythical ancestors. Their highly diverse art was influenced by that of neighboring tribes, Luba, Lunda, ...

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Kongo Command Stick
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Tribal art > Commander stick > Sceptre Congo

French African art collection.
The Kongos (also known as Bakongos, which is the plural of N'Kongo in kikongo, live on the Atlantic Ocean coast of Black Point Africa, (Republic of Congo) as far south as Luanda (Angola) and as far south as Bandundu province (Democratic Republic of Congo). Superbly crafted, the Kongo Command sceptres were, among the jewels, weapons, recades and statuary, the reg regale indispensable to their status and the power of their reign. The ornaments, pictograms and effigies carved on the sticks evoked proverbs, illustrated the qualities of a chief, told, from section to section, the history of the tribe and emphasized the qualities required to rule. Objects belonging to the royal entourage also benefited from the same coded iconography. This emblem of royal ...

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Crosse Dogon Yo dyommodo
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Tribal art > Usual african items > Sceptre Dogon

Named Yo domolo , or Yo dyommodo , this ritual stick is the emblem of the association yona of the "ritual thieves". Its structure is similar to that of the domolo which Dogon men carry on their shoulders and which is sometimes found on altars and in binu shrines. The cane yo domolo is however more sophisticated, the specimen opposite evokes the stylized silhouette of a horse's head, a primordial animal of creation, whose erect ears are formed of small figurines, and the end of the stick a half-open jaw. Characters are also carved in superimposition along the handle, in reference to the "Nommos" of complex episodes in Dogon mythology. According to Marcel Griaule, this object is supposed to remind the Dogons of how the primordial blacksmith acquired fire, for the good of humanity, ...

Baga figurative sceptre
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Tribal art > Commander stick > Sceptre Baga

Mixed with the Nalu and Landuman, the Baga live along the coasts of Guinea-Bissau in areas of swamps flooded six months a year. These Baga groups based on the coast and living from rice farming are made up of seven subgroups, including the Baga Kalum, Bulongic, Baga sitem, Baga Mandori, etc. They believe in a creative god called Nagu, Naku, which they do not represent, and which is accompanied by a male spirit whose name is Somtup. In the baga religion, except Nagu or Kanu who is the creator, an important second spiritual entity is called Somtup , the male spirit at the head of the initiation society of men. The women's association is under the direction of a-Bol, Somtup's wife. In parallel with the extinction of male initiations since the 1950s, women's societies have organized danced ...

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