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HOME : African & Tribal Art : African Collection/ HK : Yoruba Brass Edan Pair
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Yoruba Brass Edan Pair - PF.5146 (LSO)
Origin: Nigeria
Circa: 20 th Century AD
Dimensions: 10.25" (26.0cm) high
Collection: African
Medium: Brass

Additional Information: Hong-Kong

Location: Great Britain
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These charming male and female sculptures are Edan figures, an integral part of the Ogboni society in the Yoruban group. They are fairly similar, differing only in the possession of breasts, genitalia, the unidentified items they are holding in their hands, and the fact that the (bearded) male is smoking a pipe.

The Yoruba are a Central Nigerian tribal group, originally descended from a Hausa migration from the northeast in about 900 AD. A small kingdom – Ile Ife – was founded by Oduduwa, followed by great sociopolitical expansion into Southwest Nigeria, Benin, and Togo. Communities were presided over by the Oba (king) and various senates (Ogboni), and councils made up of guild leaders, merchants and the lesser aristocracy (related to the Oba). The Yoruba have an exceptionally rich and diverse mythology, history and religious context, all of which are directly linked to their artistic output.

Ogboni is a Yoruban institution that exercises social, judicial and sociopolitical power over the populace and even exercises control over regents in local monarchies. They are gerontocratic, generally benign, and focused upon the veneration of the earth (Ile or Odua). Membership of the Ogboni is a major indicator of status in Yoruba society, and this status is reinforced through the commissioning of religious and courtly paraphernalia. Most Ogboni pieces – which include jewellery and sculptures –are made of brass/copper, the non-rusting character of which is viewed as a metaphor for immortal functions and beliefs of the members. Perhaps the best known Ogboni symbol is the initiates or “edan” figures, a pair of naked male and female figures that are worn around the neck on a chain. While males and females were shown, it refers to the duality of a female goddess (Ile) of the earth, who has harder and softer aspects to her personality.

These are attractive pieces of African art.

- (PF.5146 (LSO))


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