Africa

Oshe Shango ritual staff
Yoruba

Nigeria

Oshe Shango ritual staff
Shaki Style
Oyo Area

Wood and pigments
Early 20th century
Height: 17 in. (43 cm)

Ex collection George Ortiz
Ex collection Kevin Conru, London
Ex collection Xavier Richer, Paris

Published in: H. Joubert, X. Richer, Dance with Shango, Ed. Somogy, p. 105

Price: on request

Western Africa
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Shango is among the most powerful orishas (deities) in the Yoruba pantheon.
God of Thunder, Magician King, great seducer and powerful warrior, Shango was at once feared, respected and revered.
Shango’s main attribute is the double axe, an expression of the thundering power of Shango and his gift of second sight, which allows him to punish the guilty.
Oshe Shango ritual staffs were held during ceremonial dances. They embody the intimate relationship of the devotees with Shango.

Shown here is a very elegant female figure kneeling on a cylindrical base decorated with a zigzag pattern, her hands placed on her stomach. On the back of the double-headed axe can be found sculpted vertical lines, concentric triangles and traces of blue indigo. Her tall coiffure is gathered up in braids. Scarification marks appear on her face, and her eyes are pierced. Around her wrists are sculpted bracelets, and her waist is outlined by a belt. This highly refined object displays a remarkable deep patina coated in brownish red.