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Old 2nd July 2012, 08:18 PM   #1
Tim Simmons
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Thumbs up Nigeria/Cameroon club mace.

Living very close too the edge but just had to get this. Sold as Yoruba but it is not. Not benin either. I believe it is from that border area of the two modern Counties of Nigeria and the Cameroon. I first came across one of these a few dacades ago, perhaps a little more, in a "junk" antique shop in the Eton side of Windsor. It was not as nice as this one. As you can imagine {Eton, Windsor} the shop owner wanted a Kings ransom for it far more than I paid now. He brandished a typed letter stating that it was collected by Colonel Blimp from tribes in the South Sudan. This letter went on to say that it was used for killing one of both of twin births. Then some other stuff about the tribes people denying any knowledge of the clubs existance.
Anyway not long ago, I think some time last year if not this year. The very same item with the same story sold on ebay for quite a heavy price. I wish I had kept pictures The pictures of this item are not great. I have resized then. I think they show more than enough of the art style to put Yoruba to rest. It is 61cm long, bronze top and bottom steel in the middle. It is going to be a week or so before i can add more pictures. Any other ideas? do not hold back.

Nice carpet though!
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Old 3rd July 2012, 06:44 AM   #2
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This is the best example of the similar cast bronze art style from this border region of Nigeria/Cameroon I can find in my books. From " A History Of Art IN Africa, Thames & Hudson publish 2000"
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Old 3rd July 2012, 06:53 AM   #3
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I think you are spot on with the general area. The decorative motifs and casting style remind me of daggers from the region.

Very nice item, certainly looks like it could be a badge of office.
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Old 3rd July 2012, 08:32 AM   #4
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Maybe Mandara Region ? (mountains in the North Cameroon bordering with Nigerian Bornu State). I few years ago I bought there small brass cast statue of horsrider (new) with a similar motives.
My experience with those people is, that they still produce new and new varieties of brass and bronze cast items.
Best regards,
Martin
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Old 3rd July 2012, 01:00 PM   #5
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Yes I am aware that bronze casting is still very active today. Untill it arrives heres one I made a few years back.
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Old 10th July 2012, 04:48 PM   #6
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Its here and I like it, though I would say that. What makes this genuine to my rather uninformed eye when it come to bronze casting. Is the general softness to the metal surface no harshness to the detail. Also the same with the patination, nothing harsh and recent to jar on the eye. The wax work although simple and some what rough and ready, there is a subtle attention to detail. I think it is most possible that it comes from the Cross River region. There were many punitive and anti-slavery British military expeditions in the region at the turn of the 19-20th century. Here are some more pictures.

This link will help set the scene.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hugh_Trenchard_in_Nigeria
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Old 11th July 2012, 03:40 AM   #7
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NICE ONE LIKELY CEREMONIAL OR BADGE OF RANK BUT COULD GIVE A SEVERE PECK WITH THE CHICKEN HEAD.
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Old 12th July 2012, 04:34 PM   #8
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Could be a weapon, would give you a serious head ache, aspirin would not help much.
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Old 12th July 2012, 08:14 PM   #9
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IF HIT IN THE HEAD WITH THAT MACE YOU WOULD DEFINITELY BE A MARKED MAN. THE DEADLY ROOSTER WARRIOR STRIKES AGAIN NO ONE ELSE CAN CLAIM HIS VICTUMS.
I AM NOT MAKEING FUN OF IT, IT WOULD BE WELCOME IN MY COLLECTION.
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Old 13th July 2012, 07:37 AM   #10
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I'm not completely sure - but I think this is a ceremonial mace carried by priests for religious and display purposes. Either Yoruba or Benin origin. The chicken and ibis were important in their iconography. Looks like a real thing with some age.

Some Tiv ceremonial axes have the same construction concept of an iron rod with cast bronze elements to either end.

Will see if I can find out some more...
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Old 13th July 2012, 04:44 PM   #11
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I cannot see any of the typical Benin or Yoruba art styles. Not all pieces made for the court are perfect in casting quality by any means but I just do not think this is from any urban centre. Yes it could be a product of a provincial workshop? Hens and Cockerels are symbolic motifs in Benin art. As is the Bird of Prophecy. Is it certain that the item I have is an image of any of these? It could also be a pigeon? It might not be a bird? All these aminals do have a function in religion. I can see the item being a mace to do with religion or civil society, I just do not see the work as Benin or Yoruba. The lack of such distintive styles make me feel we are looking at work from Igboland and into the Cameroon?

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Old 15th July 2012, 06:35 PM   #12
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I have been doing a little more research and I might now accept that this could well be a "Recade". This is where it might get a little confusing. I am now not talking about Benin City and Yoruba people of Nigeria but of the modern state of Benin which was known as Dahomey. There is a good possibility that we are looking at a very styilised fish form recade. The recade Bocio of Dahomey Kings take many animal forms. The last king Behanzin, had Bocio {sort of power totem} in the form of fish or shark and often depicted as a fishman or sharkman. Dahomey Bocio art objects are made to appear arcane and mysterious with an intentional roughness. Being Dahomey would explain the lack of Benin City {Nigeria} traditional imagery. This is assuming that it is not something from the Cross River region of the Nigerian/Cameroon border but is does fit with Dahomey recade norms. Some links and picture. You can also search this site for basic info.

http://www.quaibranly.fr/uploads/tx...f_Abomey_EN.pdf

Note the bottom line.
http://raai.library.yale.edu/site/i...l&image_id=1696
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Old 15th July 2012, 07:04 PM   #13
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How about this one with lots of information.

http://fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/R%C3%A9cade
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Old 16th July 2012, 10:34 AM   #14
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Taking things a step further. There is a chance that this item is a bird but not as suggested. It could well be a stylised Hornbill. The Hornbill is associated with King Glele which would put it earlier in the 19th century. Which suits me fine. This link is very informative you can scroll done to find the Hornbill.

http://www.getty.edu/conservation/p...ons/palace3.pdf
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Old 2nd March 2015, 03:09 PM   #15
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Interesting follow up. Confirming the form and expanded picture.

http://translate.google.co.uk/trans...hu/&prev=search
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Old 10th March 2015, 12:46 PM   #16
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Nicely done Tim, interesting things!
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