Esu Dance Staff (Ogo Elegbara)

A work made of wood.
CC0 Public Domain Designation

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  • A work made of wood.

Date:

Mid–/late 19th century

Artist:

Attributed to an unidentified Ketu master (active mid-19th century)
Yoruba
Nigeria
Coastal West Africa

About this artwork

This dance staff depicts a warrior flanked by a bound captive and a nursing mother. A warrior and captive also appear on the adjacent stool, which is attributed to the same unidentified Ketu master. These works were made during a period of civil war and reflect the turbulence of the time. On the staff, the warrior’s cap is depicted as a crooked phallus, a symbol of Esu, the divine messenger, facilitator, and provocateur, who is associated with action and generation. The crook allows the staff to be carried over the shoulder, just as the warrior carries his gun and as Esu is said to carry his cudgel.

On View

Arts of Africa, Gallery 137

Artist

Yoruba

Title

Esu Dance Staff (Ogo Elegbara)

Origin

Nigeria

Date

1825–1900

Medium

Wood

Dimensions

25.4 × 12.7 × 12.7 cm (10 × 5 × 5 in.)

Credit Line

Gift of Anne R. Whipple and Jay Whipple in memory of Anne's son, W. Philip McNulty III

Reference Number

1991.396

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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