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Pair of Sandals

Arts of Africa

On View: African Storage Annex, East Gallery, 1st Floor
These sandals, carved entirely out of wood, have a remarkable incised geometric pattern covering their surfaces—an example of Swahili artists’ adaptation of Islamic design motifs circulating in East Africa along the Indian Ocean coast. A label on the underside of one sandal suggests that this pair may have once belonged to Fumo Omari, a sultan of the coastal state of Witu between 1890 and 1894.
CULTURE Swahili
MEDIUM Wood
  • Place Made: Witu, Kenya
  • DATES late 19th century
    DIMENSIONS each sandal: 4 1/4 x 3 1/2 x 9 1/2 in. (10.8 x 8.9 x 24.1 cm)  (show scale)
    COLLECTIONS Arts of Africa
    MUSEUM LOCATION This item is on view in African Storage Annex, East Gallery, 1st Floor
    ACCESSION NUMBER X1054a-b
    CREDIT LINE Brooklyn Museum Collection
    RIGHTS STATEMENT Creative Commons-BY
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    CAPTION Swahili. Pair of Sandals, late 19th century. Wood, each sandal: 4 1/4 x 3 1/2 x 9 1/2 in. (10.8 x 8.9 x 24.1 cm). Brooklyn Museum, Brooklyn Museum Collection, X1054a-b. Creative Commons-BY
    IMAGE overall, X1054a-b_transpc001.jpg. Brooklyn Museum photograph
    "CUR" at the beginning of an image file name means that the image was created by a curatorial staff member. These study images may be digital point-and-shoot photographs, when we don\'t yet have high-quality studio photography, or they may be scans of older negatives, slides, or photographic prints, providing historical documentation of the object.
    CATALOGUE DESCRIPTION Pair of sandals carved of tan/brown color wood block, with a lath spindle-like toe grip (knob) of a darker chocolate brown wood that is pegged into the front section of the sandal block. A slim wedge has been driven into the peg which can be seen from the underside. Condition: both sandals are in fair and stable condition. There are several small chip losses at the edges of the sandal blocks and at several of the ridges of the spindle spool. Cracks along the woodgrain are decernible on the undersides of both sandals. Accumulations of dust in the recesses of the carved design areas. On the underside of the left sandal, in black ink: "Sandals formerly the property of FUM OMARI the rebel Christ of WITU". A small octagonal paper label is adhered to the heel block with the words "African" written in pencil and "Swahili" written in blue ink.
    RECORD COMPLETENESS Best (83%)
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