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Object Name: Figurative ax
Cultural Group: Tiv peoples
Date: 19th century
Materials Used: Copper alloy, iron
Credit line and Accession Number: Fowler Museum at UCLA. Anonymous Gift. X79.827
Tiv clan leaders possessed metal regalia in iron and copper alloys that indicated their status and power. Among the lost-wax cast objects associated with the Tiv are staffs, axes, snuff takers, tobacco pipes, and ritual voice disguisers. Many have figurative elements, the style of which is recognizably “Tiv.” These regalia were not limited to the Tiv, however, and the axes in particular were documented among their eastern Jukun and Abakwariga neighbors, whose sophisticated metalworking may have been adopted by Tiv immigrants to the Benue River valley.
Source: Gallery Wall Text, Central Nigeria Unmasked: Arts of the Benue River Valley, 2011