X2010.16.61 Figurative adze

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Figurative adze
Bene-Lulua peoples, Democratic Republic of Congo
19th century
Carved wood, ferrous metal, glass beads
Fowler Museum at UCLA; Gift of Barbara and Joseph Goldenberg; X2010.16.61

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In the Kasai River region in the nineteenth century, it was a widespread custom for elite men to carry intricately carved and ornamented adzes over their shoulders. Embellished adzes like this one were status symbols, not working tools.

Gallery Wall Text, Fowler in Focus: Radiance and Resilience – Arts of Africa and the Americas from the Goldenberg Collection, 2011

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