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.
- Esu Dance Staff (Ogo Elegbara)
- 25.4 × 12.7 × 12.7 cm (10 × 5 × 5 in.)
- Gift of Anne R. Whipple and Jay Whipple in memory of Anne's son, W. Philip McNulty III