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Edition size: 7. This particular work is numbered: 1/7.

Signed: W. Boshoff 2019 with the edition number on the side of the base/tray

Size of artwork: 200mm cube.

Base/tray: 220mm X 220mm X 15mm

Outer part of artwork: leadwood (Combretum imberbe)

Inner part of artwork: red ivory (Berchemia zeyheri)

Base/tray: leadwood

Crating: pine, foam rubber, wingnuts, bolts. Do not turn the crate upside-down. Simply undo the wingnuts and pull the crate upwards. The artwork will remain behind.


SEVEN PILLARS OF JUSTICE II (2019) differs from SEVEN PILLARS OF JUSTICE I (1997) in the following ways:

  • The ‘puzzle’ of the new work is reversed – its configuration is a mirror image of the 1997 work.
  • The new work is a 200mm cube and the 1997 work 150mm cube.
  • The central part of the new work is red ivory (the reddest wood in the world) – in the 1997 work it is Zambezi teak (Baikiaea plurijuga).
  • A specially designed crate protects the new work and provides trouble-free transport.
  • The edition size of the 1997 work is 15 and that of the new work 7.

7 Pillars of Justice II

  • Seven Pillars of Justice I is a work of art made by Willem Boshoff as commissioned by the Law Faculty of the Rand Afrikaans University. It was presented to Professor Frans Malan on 27 June 1997 as a token of appreciation for services rendered over a period of 27 years and in celebration of his appointment as judge to the South African Supreme Court on 1 July 1997.


    Frans Malan and Willem Boshoff worked together on the concept behind the work.


    The administration of justice and a contemplation of the facts of a problematic court case governed by legal rules are linked to a sensibility attained by testing and fitting, much like the piecing together of the segments of a broken puzzle. The well-known Seven Pillars of Wisdom of T. E. Lawrence (Lawrence of Arabia) served as a point of departure. Proverbs 9:1 mentions seven such pillars without naming them specifically. Frans Malan gave judicial names to these previously unidentified pillars. For the work, seven pillars that fit together into a single solid block were made with each pillar indicating a specific maxim:


    ARS BONI ET AEQUI                           The art of goodness and equity.

    SUUM CUIQUE TRIBUERE               To render to every one his own.

    PACTA SUNT SERVANDA                 Agreements must be kept.

    BONA FIDES                                          Honesty and sincerity of intention.

    AUDI ALTERAM PARTEM                  Let the other side be heard as well.

    SUMMUM IUS SUMMA INIURIA   Supreme justice is often out of supreme malice

    NEMO IUDEX IN SUA CAUSA         No-one should be a judge in his own case.


    The Latin maxims were written in Braille to play on the idea that justice is ‘blind’. The blind-folded Justitia judges the facts of a case without being misled by the social standing, race or personal attributes of the parties. To put the Latin maxims in Braille is to keep the work in line with the enigmatic seven pillars of wisdom. This deepens the conundrum of the law: ignotum per ignotius, the unknown explained by the even less known.


    Frans Malan wanted to illustrate the interaction between the hard and fast legal rules (ius strictum) and the more yielding adaptability of our common law (ius honorarium). The balance between these two aspects of the law is of cardinal importance with the one always substantiating the other. These two realities present two unique entanglements – a labyrinth within a labyrinth. Each of the seven pillars in the construct is thus composed of a soft nucleus tempered by a hard exterior. The judicial concern with the ‘flesh and blood’ of human nature is portrayed by a small, central puzzle made in a reddish wood for both works. For the 1997 work Zambezi teak has been used and for the 2019 work, red ivory. In both versions of the work the rigid, concrete structure of the law was made as the enclosing puzzle in black, granite-like leadwood, one of the heaviest woods.

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