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Re: [African_Arts] Walking sticks

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  • M.E.F.
    Thanks for your report. We normally see objects when they are dead in a glass case or in our homes or galleries. It is evocative and nice to hear of them in
    Message 1 of 3 , Mar 31, 2008
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      Thanks for your report. We normally see objects when they are "dead" in a glass case or in our homes or galleries. It is evocative and nice to hear of them in context. Margalit

      ----- Original Message ----
      From: doc47 <davidzl_2000@...>
      To: African_Arts@yahoogroups.com
      Sent: Monday, March 31, 2008 7:36:15 PM
      Subject: [African_Arts] Walking sticks

      mfliegleman, walberto and lee, thanks for your responses.

      Good points, all of you. I should have been more specific. The ones
      I'm referencing are not the sort of chief's staff as a badge of
      office. I don't have photos since most of the ones I saw weren't "art"
      but more utilitarian in nature and, if carved, were not highly
      figured, etc.

      My experience was mostly with Mandinka in The Gambia.

      One context I saw a lot of was Muslim men carrying very plain,
      slender, unadorned sticks. These men were bearded and usually wore
      plain, white caftans with trousers cut well above the ankle. I was
      told this was in order to emulate The Prophet, who dressed similarly
      and customarily carried a stick.

      The Fula, of course, carry their bulb-ended herding sticks.

      Part of the Bamana chiwarra costume is a pair of sticks with a
      goat-horn ju-ju attached. These are definitely power-sticks. I was
      told that anyone tampering with the chiwarra masquerade can be killed
      by pointing the stick at him. (Also, the zigzag patterns in the male
      chiwarra represent serpents. "If someone goes between the male and the
      female chiwarra the snakes will bite you and you will get sick and
      maybe even die.")

      These Mandinka walking sticks, though, were none of the above but I
      got the sense that they might have the sort of power the chiwarra
      ju-ju sticks have. Or perhaps I was romanticizing. :-)

      Lee, I'll do some research.

      David




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    • RAND (www.RandAfricanArt.com)
      David - I m going back through messages in the group and came across your question about sticks and staffs. I m still catching up on the messages and am not
      Message 2 of 3 , May 7, 2008
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        David -
         
        I'm going back through messages in the group and came across your question about sticks and staffs. I'm still catching up on the messages and am not sure to what degree your question got answered, but I thought I'd throw in what I recently came across while I was researching a group of staffs/sticks that I had acquired.
         
        Of course it varies by geographic region, but his statements are pretty general and good.
         
        The information below is from the book Mwana Hiti by Marc L. Felix.
         
        STAFFS
        "Staffs had many functions, they were both status symbols and tools used by a wide range of specialists, such as headmen, female leaders of lineages or associations, diviners, healers, exorcists, and witch hunters, in a variety of ways. Their form and iconography varied according to the ritualist to whom they belonged, and in the villages where only one staff existed it was used by all.” - Mwana Hiti by Marc L. Felix
         
        STICKS
         "Sticks, as they are called, are shorter than staffs and were sometimes used by leaders as emblems of rank, but mainly by ritualists to cast spells and cleanse people, houses, or ritual enclosures." - Mwana Hiti by Marc L. Felix
         
        Cheers!
        RAND

        doc47 <davidzl_2000@...> wrote:
        mfliegleman, walberto and lee, thanks for your responses.

        Good points, all of you. I should have been more specific. The ones
        I'm referencing are not the sort of chief's staff as a badge of
        office. I don't have photos since most of the ones I saw weren't "art"
        but more utilitarian in nature and, if carved, were not highly
        figured, etc.

        My experience was mostly with Mandinka in The Gambia.

        One context I saw a lot of was Muslim men carrying very plain,
        slender, unadorned sticks. These men were bearded and usually wore
        plain, white caftans with trousers cut well above the ankle. I was
        told this was in order to emulate The Prophet, who dressed similarly
        and customarily carried a stick.

        The Fula, of course, carry their bulb-ended herding sticks.

        Part of the Bamana chiwarra costume is a pair of sticks with a
        goat-horn ju-ju attached. These are definitely power-sticks. I was
        told that anyone tampering with the chiwarra masquerade can be killed
        by pointing the stick at him. (Also, the zigzag patterns in the male
        chiwarra represent serpents. "If someone goes between the male and the
        female chiwarra the snakes will bite you and you will get sick and
        maybe even die.")

        These Mandinka walking sticks, though, were none of the above but I
        got the sense that they might have the sort of power the chiwarra
        ju-ju sticks have. Or perhaps I was romanticizing. :-)

        Lee, I'll do some research.

        David


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