Prestige Staff – South Africa

A special blend of simplicity and refinement runs through the woodworking traditions of South Africa, and that combination of qualities is shown clearly in this lovely figural prestige staff. The finial presents a female figure clothed only in a simple skirt and wearing an ihloko hairstyle, the conical coiffure of a married woman. Her posture is alert but suggests a pensive sensitivity, with a slight asymmetry in her stance, and her features and limbs all express a delicate softness. Large, wide eyes project a deep sense of awareness and a far-reaching gaze. Subtle pokerwork creates a deft contrast at intervals up and down the finial, bringing extra dimension out of simple details.

 

Late 19th or early 20th century
Wood, pokerwork
36” h
Provenance: Private UK collection
#559
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