A Senufo champion cultivator staff. Ivory Coast. First half of 20th Century. Ex Michel Koenig, Brussels. Pendarell (Pen) Kent. 142.5cm long. £1750
The staff was the prize in a competition undertaken by the young men in the Senufo tribe, presented to whoever could outwork the rest of the competitors, swinging a hoe to the beat of a drum. The winner would not only win the staff but also the promise of a beautiful wife which the staff represents.This would later, on his death, be placed beside his grave to guard his spirit.