Zulu Staff

Zulu Staff

Southern African sculptors created skillfully designed and executed functional artifacts used in everyday life. The role of the walking stick in Zulu society was so ubiquitous that there are more than seventy-five terms for different types of sticks. In that highly stratified society, they were carried by commoners and high-ranking officials alike for walking, dancing, hunting, and combat - Met Museum.
The refinement and creative embellishment of this example indicate that it was a prestige object intended for elderly men and women. It is carved from a single piece of wood, and its finial has a circular flat knob. The shaft is decorated with a winding snakelike graphic motif climbing the shaft. The wood has a rich, lustrous, dark patina, the result of extensive handling and the application of animal fats.


Early - Mid 20th Century

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