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Nigeria

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17. Yoruba Osanyin staff, Nigeria, iron, 47" (120 cm)
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17. Yoruba Osanyin staff, Nigeria, iron, 47" (120 cm)
  The graceful Osanyin staffs of the Yoruba, of which this is one of the most beautiful examples known, are for Osanyin, the god of healing. The birds in Yoruba iconography are almost always representative of the great power in women (positively awon iya wa, “our mothers” or negatively aje, “witchcraft”). The central bird on the top is seen as the grandmother (within whom resides so much power and wisdom), alternatively watching over the society, or showing her strength in defense against witchcraft and evil. Stylistically this staff is probably from southwestern Yorubaland.

Collection of Charlie and Blanche Derby

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