This fine post (waaka or waaga) with its beautifully eroded and bleached surface, as a result of many years exposure to the natural elements, is a memorialisation in wood of a specific male Konso ancestor. Waaka only memorialize xhe’tallitta (heroes) of the highest rank of the Gada grade, certain religious dignitaries, and or warrior-hunters. Among the Konso, ‘waaga' are essentially the material testimony of the heroic life of a man. These Konso sculptures, like this fine example, portrayed prominent characteristics of the ancestor, a fine hairstyle, prominent erect penis as a symbol of masculinity, and sometimes upper arm cuffs, all of which denoted his senior rank. This particular practice of memorialising dates back as far as the eleventh or thirteenth century.
Estimated Period: Early 20th Century
Ex Private Collection, UK
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