superb Shango Staff, Yoruba
Yoruba, Nigeria, 19th century
Wood, height : 35,5 cm
Publication : Kunstkammer (M. Doustar, 2017), n°72
The ancestral Shango was the fourth king of the town of Oyo. Oral tradition describes him as powerful, with a voice like thunder and a mouth that spewed fire when he spoke.
When a subordinate chief challenged his rule, many townspeople were impressed by the subordinate’s feats of magic and deserted Shango. Defeated in the eyes of the majority of his subjects, Shango left Oyo and committed suicide by hanging himself. His followers were angry and they hired a great magician to bring fire on his enemy’s houses.
Several fires occurred and Shango’s followers declared that Shango had ascended into the sky from which he sent fire, symbolized by the red and yellow in the double ax.
This one has the figure holding a form, which relates to the rainbow. Because of their protective associations, Shango staffs are sometimes displayed over doorways to ward off theft and misfortune. Those staffs used in ceremonies to evoke his spirit are usually surmounted by a female figure representing his wife Oya. The double thunderbolt ax headdress symbolizes his power and bring thunder and lightning while the female figure
of Oya symbolizes fertility from the rain shown by the blue around the double ax.
This beautifully carved staff depicts Oya in a typical iconography carrying a new born. The shaft is covered with a thick crusty patina and appears to be a very old example.
Price : 4.800 euros