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HOME : African & Tribal Art : Yoruba Staffs : African Art / Yoruba Iron Herbalist's Staff
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African Art / Yoruba Iron Herbalist's Staff - PF.4883
Origin: Southwestern Nigeria
Circa: 19 th Century AD
Dimensions: 24.5" (62.2cm) high
Collection: African
Medium: Iron

Additional Information: Sold

Location: United States
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This herbalist's staff consists of sixteen inward-gazing small birds perched on a ring attached to a central staff. The avian cluster is surmounted by a lordly bird with a high neck and very long tail divided in two with one part extending horizontally beyond the rim ending in dual curly-cues, and the other curving downwards to the center of the ring. According to belief the god of divination is represented by the larger bird who possesses superiority of intellect over the smaller birds, (or witches of the night), who try to annihilate him with their fierce stares. The deity knew how to neutralize the witches' power and restore unity to the world. Hence, the symmetrical nature of the staff intended as a visual symbol of perfect balance and harmony. Also, in Yoruba belief, the spirit of God is thought to be in man's head in the form of a bird. Through a mixture of realism and abstraction the blacksmith who created this staff has represented both the material world and the world of myth in an elegant and beautiful manner. - (PF.4883)


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