Snuff Kerrie - Northern Nguni, South Africa

Knobkerries, most typically carved as simple, ball-headed clubs, are icons in traditional southern African culture. They were ubiquitously carried by men for personal protection and were important symbols of status and identity. As with many other objects of utility in southern African life, they were at times lavished with considerable artistic modification. This highly unusual kerrie features a partially hollow head, slit open on one side and pierced through its center with an open channel. Two snuff containers, one of which bears a small face, protrude like pouches from either side. A pair of post-shaped arms just below the head allows the kerrie to rest horizontally.


Late 19th century
24 1/4” l  5” h
Provenance: Michel Koenig, Brussels; Kevin Conru, Brussels
Published in The Art of Southeast Africa, Kevin Conru, plate 28
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