This statue was carved in the style of the Yoruba people of Nigeria. The piece depicts a figure known as Shango, the god of thunder. She is holding a cockerel in her left arm and there is a smaller figure sitting on her right. The wand measures 25.75 inches tall including base. The corner of the double axe has a chip missing from the corner. Cracking and wear and tear throughout – please inspect photos.
|Type of Object||
|Country of Origin||
25.5" wand | 25.75" including base
Chipped corner of axe, cracking and wear and tear.
About the Yoruba People
The Yoruba are the largest cultural group on the African continent, with nearly 40 million people. The word ‘Yoruba’ describes both the language and a tribe living across Nigeria and the Popular Republic of Benin, in an area of forest and savannah.
The Yoruba people’s primary living space is South-West Nigeria with substantial Yoruba communities in Benin, Togo and Sierra Leone but they are not bound by state or country borders. This area is often referred to as “Yorubaland”. Most of the terrain is either forest, woodland savannah, rich farmland or coastal swamps and lagoons.
The origin of the Yoruba people in Nigeria is heavily debated. Some believe they came from the east in Mecca, some say from the north in Egypt. Evidence shows that ethnically, Yoruba’s have been in the area known as Yorubaland since the 7th century BC. Scholars believe the area was probably inhabited earlier by peoples of the Nok culture. Yorubaland covers the modern-day countries of Nigeria, Togo and Benin. The term Yoruba to describe ethnicity, did not come about until the 16th century and wasn’t widely used until the 19th century. Before then, the Yoruba people were known by many names depending on who was acknowledging them. For instance, the Europeans referred to them as Akú, whereas in Cuba, they were referred to as O luku mi.
Read more about the Yoruba here.
About the Ose Sango
“The name Sango allegedly belonged to the fourth Yoruba king who was deified and became associated with thunder, symbolized by a double-axe motif on the head of the sculptures associated with his cult. During annual Sango cult ceremonies, women devotees sing and dance holding the Ose Sango (dance wand).”
The Shango staff usually consist of three sections--a handle, a female figure and a superstructure depicting two stone axes. Her nudity and kneeling pose suggest humility before a deity in a ritual setting. Associated with virility, masculinity, fire, lightning, stones, oyo warriors and magnetism. Shango is said to have the abilities to transform base substances into those that are pure and valuable. Shango is the Yoruba orisha (“god”) of thunder and lighting. Historically, Shango is a royal ancestor of the Yoruba as he was the third Alafin (king) of the Oyo Kingdom prior to his posthumous deification.He reigned for seven years which were marked by his continuous campaigns and many battles. However, his reign ended due his inadvertent destruction of his palace by lightning. It is believed In Yoruba mythology that Shango committed suicide by hanging himself in order to avoid humiliation from one of his powerful chiefs who ordered Shango to vacate his throne or face war.