Fine Sukuma Shield, Tanzania

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Lot 85
Fine Sukuma Shield, Tanzania

Sold for US$ 11,250 inc. premium
Fine Sukuma Shield, Tanzania
gula
Wood, cowhide, organic pigments
height 26 13/16in (68cm)

"After colonisation, the British supported the increasingly powerful Sukuma chiefs (ntemi), who were elected by a hereditary court of elders. Because the ntemi did not require any special qualifications other than being one of the sons of the last chief's sister, it was important that the public be impressed and inspired by his authority. His investiture rites and insignia gained an aura of supernatural power. Among the emblems of royalty he inherited was the lung'uda, a pole shield which was similar to the gula but smaller, being about forearm size." (Benitez-Johannot, Purissima and Jean Paul Barbier, Shields: Africa, Southeast Asia and Oceania, Prestel, 2000, p. 122)

Cf. (Ibid.) fig. 44 (BMG 1027-98c)
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