Gano (axe)

Gano (axe), 19th century
Attribution unknown
Wood and metal
:T4.2.2005.4

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Gano (axe), 19th century

Made by the Shona people, this Zimbabwean ceremonial gano (axe) showcases its maker’s skill in using different materials. Although the gano was once used for defence and hunting, this one is too fine for battle and was probably held as a status or ancestral symbol during rituals or dancing.

Rising independence in Zimbabwe during the 1960s and 1970s revived objects like the gano and it came to symbolise the ownership of the land and is therefore used in modern ceremonies to denote the nation’s independence.

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