Oba's Dagger and Sheath (Udamalore and èwu)

Date:

Late 19th/early 20th century

Artist:

Yoruba
Nigeria
Coastal West Africa

About this artwork

Ceremonial swords with elaborate beaded sheaths and hilts are the prerogative of Yoruba kings and high-ranking chiefs in the Owo region. On the face of this sheath is a horse and rider, a symbol of power and prestige, while its overhanging flaps feature hunters holding rifles and a man wearing a European-style hat. During the 18th or early 19th century, European-inspired fashions gained prestige for many Africans. [See 1991.385a-b]. Above the hunters’ heads are birds, references to the supernatural powers of women, without whose cooperation a community could not thrive. It is likely that the same artist made the sword and sheath, as well as the panels below them, as a matched set. During festivals such panels were worn draped over a belt at the left hip.

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Arts of Africa

Artist

Yoruba

Title

Oba's Dagger and Sheath (Udamalore and èwu)

Origin

Nigeria

Date

1875–1925

Medium

Cloth, wood, glass beads, and thread

Credit Line

Gift of Deborah Stokes and Jeffrey Hammer

Reference Number

1991.386a-b

Extended information about this artwork

Object information is a work in progress and may be updated as new research findings emerge. To help improve this record, please email .

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