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Old 17th July 2009, 09:06 PM   #1
katana
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Default African Ebony staff / walking stick / fighting stick

Bought this recently, a heavy ebony stick 620 grammes, (1.36 lbs) hand carved with a symbolic bird. A carved twisted section is nicely patinated from use....interestingly it is very 'comfortable' to hold at this point and the bulbous end would make a good club. The pointed 'end' would also be a useful weapon.

A 'multi-functional' stick would make great sense, whilst walking in the bush. This seems to have some age and some wear....leading me to believe that this may not be a 'tourist piece'. I am also curious as to the symbolism of the bird ....it seems to be 'haunched' over, eating some food (meat ?)...a vulture ??

Any comments gratefully received and appreciated, thank you

Regards David

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Old 18th July 2009, 02:59 AM   #2
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YOUR OBSERVATIONS ARE ALL VALID AND IT IS A BEAUTIFUL ITEM. CONGRADULATIONS.

UNFORTUNATELY I KNOW VERY LITTLE IN THIS FIELD BUT WOULD GUESS IT IS A ITEM DENOTING THE STATUS OF THE PERSON WHO CARRIED IT. IT MAY HAVE HAD SOME CEREMONIAL OR CLAN OR TRIBAL MEANINGS AS WELL. I DON'T KNOW IF THE VULTURE WAS SIGNIFICENT IN ANY AFRICAN CULTURES BUT SUSPECT IT WAS AS IT HOLDS SIGNIFICENCE IN MANY OTHER CULTURES. AND IT DOES INDEED LOOK LIKE A VULTURE TO ME.

AS A WEAPON IT IS WEAKENED IN THE MIDDLE BY THE HOLE THRU THE VULTURE SO IF USED TO STRIKE IT WOULD PROBABLY BE USED EITHER AS A STAFF WEAPON HELD IN THE MIDDLE OR CHOKED UP TO ONE END OR THE OTHER FOR A STRIKE OR JAB. EBONY IS VERY STRONG SO JABBING OR POKEING WITH EITHER END WOULD NOT HAVE RISKED BREAKING IT WHERE A HEAVY STRIKE HOLDING THE SMALL END WOULD.
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Old 18th July 2009, 09:39 AM   #3
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The staff seems fairly recent 1970-80s have a similar one that I picked up some 20yrs ago higher end touristy carved from very heavy ebony wood.
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Old 18th July 2009, 03:34 PM   #4
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JUST FOR FUN I WILL GUESS THE OCCUPATION OF THE OWNER BASED ON THE BUSINESS THEY WERE IN AND THE PRESENCE OF A VULTURE. 1.OWNER OF A MORTUARY 2. A BANKER 3. A CROOKED LAWYER
NOTE I SPECIFIED THE CROOKED TYPE FOR THE VULTURE THERE ARE MANY OTHER TYPES GOOD AND BAD SOME WOULD HAVE A CANE WITH A SHARK THEY EVEN HAVE A TV SHOW ABOUT ONE SUCH.
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Old 18th July 2009, 04:29 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by VANDOO
JUST FOR FUN I WILL GUESS THE OCCUPATION OF THE OWNER BASED ON THE BUSINESS THEY WERE IN AND THE PRESENCE OF A VULTURE. 1.OWNER OF A MORTUARY 2. A BANKER 3. A CROOKED LAWYER
NOTE I SPECIFIED THE CROOKED TYPE FOR THE VULTURE THERE ARE MANY OTHER TYPES GOOD AND BAD SOME WOULD HAVE A CANE WITH A SHARK THEY EVEN HAVE A TV SHOW ABOUT ONE SUCH.



Hi Vandoo ,
perhaps we could add 'politician' to the list or even 'colonial rulers' (apt for Africa) .......'poor quality butcher'...


I did find this ....

Abasi's Messenger Is a Vulture (Anang/Nigeria) The supreme god, all knowing, all-seeing, and all-powerful, Abasi moves at times from his place in the sky to the earth, where he struggles with evil supernatural beings and is sometimes challenged by ancestral spirits. Spirits touch people more routinely than Abasi. There are guardian spirits, ancestral spirits, and evil beings.

Many African cultures revere the vulture as a messenger or communicator with the dead / ancestors /afterlife.

In Ancient Egypt it was seen that the vulture was the symbol of perhaps the oldest of southern Ancient Egypt , Nekhbet, who was considered the protector of the pharaoh, royalty, and Egypt and always shown with her extended wings. They referred to the bird as the Mother of Mothers, who hath existed from the Beginning and creator of the world. This vulture always was seen on the front of the pharaoh’s crown. After the unification of Egypt both she and Wadjet (another early goddess in the Egyptian pantheon
who had the same role in southern Egypt) shared the location of the protecting deity on the new double crown that was worn by the pharaohs of every dynasty thereafter.

The nurturing behavior of these vultures while rearing their young led to a view of them as model parents, and their lack of sexual dimorphism led the Ancient Egyptians to think, mistakenly, that they were all female and reproduced through parthenogenesis .



Kind Regards David
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Old 18th July 2009, 06:21 PM   #6
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Hi Lew ,
I have tried to find 'tourist' examples that are similar to mine, but have not found one......but I am still looking.
This is definately Ebony.....I worked out the approx. (but fairly accurate) volume (cubic centimeters) of the staff, and then weighed it. The density of Ebony is 1.22 grams per cubic centimeter ....which is almost identical to the result I obtained. ie the weight in grammes divided by the volume in cm3.

I think the staff was held in the LEFT hand. The handle (at the top) is deliberately offset. When held in the right hand the vulture (?) faces to the left . Held in the left hand the vulture faces perfectly forward.

The question is ....are all these types of staff used left-handed or was this made for a left-handed person. Or is there some symbolic, ritualistic or cultural reason for a staff to be held left handed........ a sinister staff indeed

Lew please could you post a picture of yours ? is yours 'handed' ?

Regards David
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