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Borana Leather Whip Sjambok

Borana Leather Whip Sjambok

Regular price €245,00
Regular price Sale price €245,00
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Borana people, late 19th or early 20th century, Ethiopia or Kenya.

Impressive old leather whip (called sjambok or litupa) was used as a cattle prod, riding crop and for self defense. Traditionally made from an adult hippopotamus or rhinoceros hide. The sjambok was heavily used by the Voortrekkers driving their oxen while migrating from the Cape of Good Hope, and remains in use by herdsmen to drive cattle. 

The Borana, Gabbra and Sakuye are a subethnic groups within the Oromo people group. The Borana people live in southern Oromia' Borena Zone of Ethiopia and northern Kenya, and are semi-nomadic pastoralists, while the Gabbra and Sakuye are specialized in camel-keeping. The Borana people are notable for their historic political  Gadaa system. The Gadaa (means literally "era") is the indigenous  democratic system of governance. The system regulates political, economic, social and religious activities of the community. The Borana society is build around the maintenance of cattle, which are their prime source of sustenance. Many Borana folktales and songs illustrate their affection for cattle, and the possession of large herds is considered a sign of one's economic status. Legal fines, bride-prices, and religious sacrifices are all paid in the form of cattle.

Gorgeous old leather whip are in good condition. Age-related wear and signs of use. Rigid and dried leather. Length c. 100,0cm. Handle diameter c. 1,6cm.

Provenance: private collection from Finland.

References and further reading:

Borana, Encyclopedia of Africa, Kwame Anthony Appiah & Henry Louis Gates (Jr.), Oxford University Press, 2010.

Borana people, 101 Last tribes. (

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    The shipment will be prepared in the course of 3-5 days and dispatched via Posti Group Oyj or purchased item(s) can be picked up from our shop during the store's opening hours (Tarkk’ampujankatu 4, 00140, Helsinki, Finland). Within the Finland, all items are shipped via Posti Group Oyj unless otherwise requested. We pack the items carefully and mainly in recycled materials because we want to save nature. You will receive the tracking number for your items by e-mail.

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