Arts of Africa
On View: African Storage Annex, East Gallery, 1st Floor
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.
15 x 2 x 4 1/4 in. (38.1 x 5.1 x 10.8 cm) (show scale)
Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Brian S. Leyden
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Feia Tomekpa (Dan, flourished 1940s-early 1950s). Ceremonial Hoe, 20th century. Wood, iron, 15 x 2 x 4 1/4 in. (38.1 x 5.1 x 10.8 cm). Brooklyn Museum, Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Brian S. Leyden, 87.216.2. Creative Commons-BY (Photo: Brooklyn Museum, 87.216.2_front_PS6.jpg)
front, 87.216.2_front_PS6.jpg. Brooklyn Museum photograph, 2011
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Ceremonial hoe with cylindrical handle of wood, topped by human head with stylized face, wearing a coiffure which is ridged in the center and incised with geometric designs. Two small metal teeth set into mouth. Bottom of handle widens into bifurcated form with a center projection. The metal hoe, pointed at the tip, is attached to this lower section. Series of rings carved below head, and two narrow bands of triangular forms just below widened bottom section. Condition: One long crack down the front starting at chin; crack in bottom lower section; Small chips and nicks in wood; metal hoe worn and patinated. Recieved together with 84.216.1; both mounted on the same detachable wood and metal mount.
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