[ALI, MUHAMMAD. B.1942.] African carved wood, bone and ivory cane used by heavyweight champion Muhammad Ali in Zaire (now Democratic Republic of the Congo) in October 1974,

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Lot 142Y
[ALI, MUHAMMAD. B.1942.]
African carved wood, bone and ivory cane used by heavyweight champion Muhammad Ali in Zaire (now Democratic Republic of the Congo) in October 1974,

Sold for US$ 22,500 inc. premium
[ALI, MUHAMMAD. B.1942.]
African carved wood, bone and ivory cane used by heavyweight champion Muhammad Ali in Zaire (now Democratic Republic of the Congo) in October 1974, 37 ½ x 5 ½ inches, moderate wear including a little loss to ivory on handle and a small panel apparently lacking.
Provenance: given by Muhammad Ali to an employee who remained in the United States during the trip to Zaire.

THE "CANE OF THE CHIEF." "The Rumble in the Jungle" was one of the most important championship boxing matches in the history of sport. To stage the fight between former champion Muhammad Ali and the then undefeated world heavyweight champion George Foreman, promoter Don King chose Kinshasa, Zaire (now Democratic Republic of the Congo) at 4:00 AM on October 30, 1974. All the smart money was on Foreman to win but Ali used his famous "rope-a-dope" technique in which he tired out his opponent and then knocked him out in the 8th round to regain the title. It was one of the most highly hyped events of the 20th Century and was described in great detail by Norman Mailer in The Fight (1975).
On October 21, 1974, Ali and Foreman were summoned to meet President Mobutu SeSe Seko in the presidential gardens. When he saw the president's beautifully carved cane, Ali asked what it meant. Through an interpreter, he replied, "This is known as the cane of the chief. You see, this is the carving of a woman. She represents reproduction—the growth of a nation. These are serpents—they represent war. And the two doves are tokens of peace. It is the president's task to see that the nation grows and that the serpents never devour the doves. Only the chief of Africa can carry this cane" (see Will Grimsley, "Chief's Cane Not for Ali," Lewiston Daily Sun, October 24, 1974).
Just a few days later Ali can be seen posing for the press with the present cane. See a series of images taken by Neil Leifer for Sports Illustrated at the presidential complex outside of Kinshasa on October 26, 1974. This includes a great image of Ali waving the cane upside-down; i.e. with the pointy end towards the camera.
Contacts
[ALI, MUHAMMAD. B.1942.] African carved wood, bone and ivory cane used by heavyweight champion Muhammad Ali in Zaire (now Democratic Republic of the Congo) in October 1974,
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