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Tutsi Archer Wrist Protector Rwanda Burundi African Art

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Title Tutsi Archer Wrist Protector Rwanda Burundi African Art
Type of Object Archer Wrist
Country of Origin Rwanda, Burundi
People Tutsi
Materials Wood, cooper
Approximate Age Second half 20th century
Dimensions 8.5 inches outer diam x 3 inches interior diam
Overall Condition Good
Damage/Repair General wear, cracks, scuffs; see pictures for detail.

Additional Information: An Archer wrist protector from the Tutsi of Rwanda or Burundi made of wood and decorated with copper strips.

This simple abstract object reflects the astonishing ability of African sculptors to make an extraordinary form fit a simple function. Among the Tutsi of Rwanda, chiefs and warriors wore this bracelet like device on their left wrist to protect their wrists and arms from the bowstring after it was released. Those shown worn by chiefs during the nineteenth century were embellished with complex designs of copper inlay. It was serviceable to prevent injury but perhaps more important it identified the warriors and Tutsi elite in a most obvious manner. They are rarely seen in collections and would stand out as a unique and sophisticated sculpture. A complete example is illustrated in Roy Sieber’s AFRICAN TEXTILES AND DECORATIVE ARTS. See p.. 150.

See also a similar example with copper strips in the Collection of Marc and Denyse Ginzberg, Sotheby's, Paris, 10 September 2007, figs. 66 and 67