STICKS OR STONES?
Question: what was humankind’s first tool, the stick or the stone? Answer: archeological evidence points to the stone, although they may win by default since sticks ultimately turn to dust. Here’s another question: what has been more useful to humankind throughout history, the stick or the stone? Answer: take your pick; but if you’re from Ethiopia odds are you’ll answer sticks. Known as the place where early man first walked upright – and called the original Stick Culture – Ethiopia is the place where sticks called “dula” have been used for millennia for every imaginable task.
This week’s New Arrival features a dula created by the Oromo People. Y-shaped and covered with copper accents, it is more reminiscent of a divining rod than its intended use as a “pilgrimage staff.” This sort of dula is more than an interesting branch a wandering pilgrim found and decided to use on their journey. Instead, it is a carefully crafted, functional object that has been sensitively shaped, traditionally fired and flame hardened, and then oiled and embellished to give it a smooth, glossy finish. This dula says, being upright may require as much faith as balance.
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