African Emblems of Status

October 27, 1982 – April 3, 1983

National Museum of African Art
950 Independence Avenue, SW
Washington, DC

1st and 2nd Floor, 318 A St., NE Floor Plan

In a broad survey of sub-Saharan African peoples, the exhibition of 205 objects presents the variety of forms, materials and kinds of art objects created to identify, honor, and celebrate individuals of status and achievement. The exhibition concentrates on five themes: emblems of achievement; emblems of rank; household and personal prestige emblems; prestige clothing and adornment; and prestige architecture.

On view as part of the latter is a re-creation of an interior courtyard, styled after those of wealthy Yoruba people of Nigeria, incorporating elaborately carved doorposts and Benin bronze plaques. Objects on view include highly decorated wooden chairs, carved masks, special woven baskets, ivory amulets, drinking vessels, containers, sculpted spoons, carved or cast tobacco pipes, staffs, batons, fly whisks, ceremonial swords, and other weapons, hats, caps, crowns, jewelry, and cloth.