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20th C. African Yoruba Wooden Ose Shango Staff

Africa, Nigeria, early 20th century CE. A carved wooden figural finial for a ceremonial staff honoring Shango (also known as Jakuta), a royal ancestor of the Yoruba who was the third king (Alafin)of the Oyo kingdom, is generally revered as one of the most powerful Yoruba leaders, and was deified after his death. This piece depicts a kneeling female figure - a worshipper of Shango - holding an offering (perhaps a fruit or a flower) for the deity. She is nude with prominent breasts; her visage with large eyes and bold features, topped by a headdress with a blade-shaped finial. A staff like this is called an Ose Shango staff, carried and danced with by members of the Shango cult. Shango is the Yoruba deity of thunder and lightning also associated with virility, justice, and dance. Size: 12" H (30.5 cm)

Condition: Age cracks. Inactive insect losses to headdress, left section of face, and base as shown.

Provenance: ex-Nick Poolos collection, Adeon Gallery, Chicago, Illinois, USA, acquired before 1970

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