African Art / Works from the Swiss collection of Walter Schwab
Wednesday 13 October 2021, 05:00 PM • Milan
Axe of high rank.
Local Teke name: Ibia.
Large forged iron blade in the shape of a halfmoon with an attachment at the bottom of the polygonal section. Moulded wooden handle completely wrapped in a long spiral of copper twin lead decorated with a series of burin points. The bottom has a conical shape and is also covered with stapled copper foil. Glaze from use.Object denotes prestige A rare example produced by the blacksmiths of the ethnic Mfinu group, a people of the Congo located along the left-hand banks of the Congo River, to the north of Kinshasa.This type of axe was made in similar shapes by the Teke, a group that lives on the two banks at the mouth of the Congo.The semi-circular-shaped blade, with a long graft, are characteristic of axes made by blacksmiths in this region.The purpose of these axes was to demonstrate the owner’s high social rank: they were reserved for the heads of tribes, the heads of clans, people of noble lineage etc.These works entered museums and great collections because of their shape of great effect.
ZIRNGIBL MANFRED A., Seltene Afrikanische Kurzwaffen, Grafenau 1983, pagg. 96 e 97 (238);
SCHAEDLER KARL-FERDINAND, Erde und Erz, Panterra Verlag Edition Minerva, Munchen 1997, pag. 337, n° 662 (537);
DUPRE’ MARIE-CLAUDE, Batéké: peintres et sculpteurs d’Afrique Centrale, Musées Nationaux, Paris 1998, pagg. 106 e 107 (Ibia) (813);
FALGAYRETTES LEVEAU CHRISTIANE, Chasseurs et guerriers, Musée Dapper, Paris 1998, pagine 202 e 208 (529);
ELSEN JAN, De fer et de fierté: Armes blanches d’Afrique Noire du Musée Barbier-Mueller, Genéve & Milan 2003, pag. 213 (524);
ELSEN JAN, Fatal Beauty: Traditional weapons from Central Africa, Bruxelles 2009, pag. 289, n° 374 (643)