By Mary Nooter Roberts
University of California, Los Angeles
Royal emblems often derive their forms from tools, weapons, or utilitarian objects. Yet, they acquire new meanings and uses and often no longer serve the original purposes for which they were made. Spears, staffs, knives, axes, adzes, and flywhisks are among the objects found in royal treasuries throughout Africa where they serve to signal rank and wealth, as well as spiritual, moral, and political authority.