Mixed Maasai (or Masai) Artefact, Tanzania


Campbelltown, Australia

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Maasai artefacts available in Kenya & Tanzania, East Africa. This brightly coloured bead work is created by the Masai women to provide some cash income to supplement their subsistence existance. Artefacts include bracelets, neckpieces and clubs.
Canon 500D, zoom lens.
Cubs made of wood with a rounded top and with a long handle is called o-rinka, pl. i-rinkan. In the hills in Narok District there is a hill known as En-doinyo e Rinka (the hill of the wooden club) where a particular species of tree (Tetradenia riparia) is used to make these knobbly clubs. However, most are made for the tourist trade from the distorted roots of the leleshwa shrub (which covers the rocky hillsides of the Maasai country closer to Nairobi). These handy clubs are used by herdsmen and thrown to divert their animals and for killing small wildlife and fighting with raiders or cattle rustlers. Today such o-rinka for fighting are made with a steel handle and a large steel nut (nut and bolt) welded to the tip. Quite lethal, and adopted by Maasai watchmen who guard residences in the capital Nairobi. Among the Maasai and Kalenjin, such clubs made of ebony or ivory and decorated with beads are also carried by elders as a sign of status. The former Kenyan President Daniel Arap Moi was never without his ivory and gold o-rinka. Some clubs may have a secret ‘plug’ for a magic potion to be inserted by a witchdoctor or may have been embalmed with such a potion.
(1115 views at 29 June 2015)


Artwork Comments

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