(probably Tsonga peoples)
Overall: 120.7 cm (47 1/2 in.)
Leonard C. Hanna, Jr. Fund 2010.204
Arguably the finest surviving carving of the Baboon Master in a Western collection, this staff features exceptionally sophisticated articulation and detailing. The circular pokerwork motif on one side—which echoes the treatment of the ears on the male heads supporting the baboon—may represent a shield or a leaf. The heads feature the characteristic ornament that signifies maturity and marriage; covered with a mixture of gum, charcoal, and oil, this hairdo, called isicoco, employed a fiber or sinew ring into which the wearer’s hair was woven.
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