Dan women form cooperative work groups to plant their rice farms. They use short-handled hoes for their labor. Each community chooses the leader of the work group based on her reputation for energy and leadership. As a symbol of her role as an important community leader, she carries a hoe carved with a figurative handle on those public occasions in which she wishes to show her status.
These hoes are examples of how utilitarian items may be embellished and elaborated to take on symbolic value. The heads on the handles may have been carved as portraits of the owners, or they may represent the artist's conception of an ideal face.
This text refers to these objects: ' 87.216.2; 87.216.1
- Artist: Feia Tomekpa, Dan, flourished 1940s-early 1950s
- Culture: Dan
- Medium: Wood, iron
- Place Made: Garplay, Liberia
- Dates: 20th century
- Dimensions: 14 1/8 x 2 1/4 x 4 1/16 in. (35.9 x 5.7 x 10.3 cm) (show scale)
- Collections:Arts of Africa
- Museum Location: This item is on view in South Gallery, 1st Floor
- Accession Number: 87.216.1
- Credit Line: Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Brian S. Leyden
- Rights Statement: Creative Commons-BY
- Caption: Feia Tomekpa (Dan, flourished 1940s-early 1950s). Ceremonial Hoe, 20th century. Wood, iron, 14 1/8 x 2 1/4 x 4 1/16 in. (35.9 x 5.7 x 10.3 cm). Brooklyn Museum, Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Brian S. Leyden, 87.216.1. Creative Commons-BY
- Catalogue Description: Ceremonial hoe with cylindrical handle of wood, topped by human head with stylized face, wearing coiffure divided into 2 sections. Four metal teeth are set into the mouth. The bottom of the handle widens into bifurcated form, into which is attached the rounded metal hoe. Incised rings below neck and just above widened bottom section. Condition: One long crack down back of handle; small chips and nick in wood; metal hoe worn and patinated.
- Record Completeness: Best (89%)