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Dance Staff (Oshe Sango)

A work made of wood and pigment.

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  • A work made of wood and pigment.


Early 20th century


Yòrùbá: Yewa
Agbado region, Nigeria
Coastal West Africa

About this artwork

This dance staff has been carved in the form of a kneeling priestess holding a sacrificial chicken and ram. She wears a crown in the shape of Shango’s distinctive double axe, which symbolizes his dual character: violent and compassionate. These blades also evoke the Neolithic stone tools that are said to be hurled to earth by Shango during thunderstorms. Only senior priestesses or priests devoted to Shango can dance with such a staff in ritual performances and other events.


On View, Gallery 137


Arts of Africa




Dance Staff (Oshe Sango)


Nigeria (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.

Made 1900–1940


Wood and pigment


H.: 38.7 cm (15 1/4 in.)

Credit Line

Gift of Richard Faletti, the Faletti Family Collection

Reference Number


Extended information about this artwork

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