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HOME : African & Tribal Art : Yoruba Staffs : Yoruba Iron Osun Ematon Staff
Yoruba Iron Osun Ematon Staff - PF.4909
Origin: Southwestern Nigeria
Circa: 20 th Century AD
Dimensions: 48" (121.9cm) high x 8" (20.3cm) wide
Collection: African
Medium: Iron

$2,500.00
Location: United States
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Description
The night can be especially dangerous in the African bush, not only from wild animals, but also from the 'rulers of the night', or witches. These are powerful women who are able to transform their life force into a bird so they can more easily search for victims. To combat their evil, the Edo (diviners-herbalists) develops the same capability of transformation in order to fight the witches on an equal level.

One of their most effective "weapons" is the iron bird staff, such as this beautiful example. Within the context of pure abstraction, this creation in iron represents a veritable world of magical symbolism representing the real and supernatural realms. The "crown" is a delightful collection of shapes including inverted bells or cones, and stylized birds. These birds are symbolic of the night witches and of the diviners who combat them. The diviner himself is represented by the beautifully made chameleon clinging to the center of the staff. Chameleons are capable of quick changes of coloration to hide from predators, just as the diviner can change his appearance to deceive witches. He is seen halfway between the physical and non- physical worlds, with his back arched and head alert to danger. The overall effect of this staff is an object of perfect balance and unity; where good wins out over evil through the harmony of design and the power of the artist's intent.
- (PF.4909)

 

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