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Figural Staff

A work made of wood and iron.
Public Domain

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  • A work made of wood and iron.


Probably late 19th century


Côte d’Ivoire
Coastal West Africa

About this artwork

Until the 1950s, along the eastern edge of the Baule region carved staffs like this example were made to honor important ancestors. That practice has given way to rituals focusing on stools and gold inherited from deceased family members. In the example displayed here an idealized male figure is seated on a stool, with three faces below him that may symbolize wealth in the form of wives. The drum carved farther down likely alludes to success in battle.


On View, Gallery 137


Arts of Africa




Figural Staff


Côte d'Ivoire (Object made in)

Date  Dates are not always precisely known, but the Art Institute strives to present this information as consistently and legibly as possible. Dates may be represented as a range that spans decades, centuries, dynasties, or periods and may include qualifiers such as c. (circa) or BCE.



Wood and iron


H.: 160 cm (63 in.)

Credit Line

Purchased with funds provided by Bernice Hirsch, William Hartmann, and Mr. and Mrs. Herbert R. Molner in memory of Milton Hirsch; African and Amerindian Art Purchase Fund

Reference Number


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Extended information about this artwork

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