Insignia, late 19th century

Not on Viewexpand_more

This type of scepter was made by the Portuguese as a diplomatic gift, given to paramount chiefs in the Kongo region to win their favor. The blade is similar to those made from wood by the Woyo and Kakongo peoples for themselves. The symbols carved on the edge, the holes cut through the blade, and the snake incised on its surface identify the chief and important clan members while also representing proverbs about power, authority, and good governance.

Accession Number
Curator Approved

This record is from historic documentation and may not have been reviewed by a curator, so may be inaccurate or incomplete. Our records are frequently revised and enhanced. If you notice a mistake or have additional information about this object, please email

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