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
(Click on images to enlarge)