About this artwork
The dance staff (oshe) is among the most quintessential of Yoruba art forms. This staff bears the double ax blades of Sango—the god of warfare and thunder—representing the Neolithic stone ax heads that the god is said to hurl to Earth during thunderstorms. Below the ax blades, a woman with twins evokes Sango’s special relationship to twins, who accompany him when he creates thunderstorms. Mothers of twins frequently become devotees or priestesses of Sango. This staff retains the encrustation of sacrificial offerings, indicating that it once stood on a devotee’s altar with other accoutrements intended to honor and invigorate the deity.
- Dance Staff (Oshe Sango)
- Nigeria (Object made in)
- Made 1900–1940
- Wood and sacrificial material
- 39.4 × 19.1 cm (15 1/2 × 7 1/2 in.)
- Major Acquisitions Fund