Details

Title

Adze

Artist/Maker

Luba Artist once known, Democratic Republic of the Congo

Date

Late nineteenth–early twentieth century

Medium

Wood, copper, and iron

Dimensions

Contact the museum for more information

Credit

Fred and Rita Richman Collection

Accession #

2002.311

On View

Currently not on view

In Luba culture, to make or hold an adze signifies royalty and power. This symbolism is derived from oral histories that describe how a mythological hero established kingship by introducing advanced metal-working, forever connecting the two. As a result, Luba blacksmiths are highly regarded, as in many African cultures. They are respected for their secret knowledge and expert metal-working skills, derived from the founding hero himself. The tools and products of blacksmiths play significant roles in investiture rituals for Luba kings as well as in many other ceremonies and events.

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