TERA Gallery - African Art and Antiquities

"Altering The Way You View The World Of Art"
 
BELLOWS

Bellows are carved from a single piece of wood in phallic forms.  Air is
rhythmically pump through the bellow beating the two bowl-like breast forcing
out air through the tubular passage to fan the fire.  The ore and charcoal were
heated until a near-molten bloom of iron, called a fetus by the smelters, formed
inside the furnace chamber.  When the the "gestation" period was complete, the
bloom was delivered as if a child.  The slag believed to be the placenta was
gathered as foundation material for a new furnace.

The bellows are a central piece for blacksmiths in the transformation of metal
and the production of tools, currency, and other utilitarian objects.  Bellows help
to activate the fire that melt the metals and transforms them.

As an intermediary between opposing life forces,  the blacksmiths assists others
to navigate these forces by supplying the necessary tools and devotional
objects. The tools attempt to harness the unpredictable wildness of nature.
Objects of devotion provide representations of specific deities who govern over
human concerns such as fertility, health, warfare, and prosperity.