Beaded StaffArtist(s)YorubaArtist NationalityYoruba (culture or style)Object Creation Date20th centuryMedium & Supportwood with beadsDimensions
14 15/16 in x 1 in x 1 in (37.9 cm x 2.5 cm x 2.5 cm)Credit LineGift of Margaret H. and Albert J. CoudronSubject matter
This beaded staff, called opa ileke
in the Yoruba language, may have formed part of the regalia of an oba
, a sacred Yoruba king. Beadwork was a sign of wealth and status, reserved for royals and religious leaders. Seed beads were introduced in the 19th century by European traders; the many colors allowed craftsmen to create patterns that showed the authority of the oba.
Certain combinations of colors also referenced various orisas
, or gods, through the 'hot' or 'cool' properties of different colors.
Doris, David. 2004. Masterworks of African Art: Yoruba Images and Aesthetics.
Ann Arbor, University of Michigan Museum of Art.
Drewal, Henry John. 1989. Yoruba: Nine Centuries of African Art and Thought.
New York: Center for African Art.
Drewal, Henry John and John Mason. 1998. Beads Body and Soul: Art and Light in the Yorùbá Universe. Los Angeles: UCLA Fowler Museum of Cultural History.
Pemberton, John. 2008. African Beaded Art: Power and Adornment.
Northampton: Smith College Museum of Art.Physical Description
Wooden staff covered with multi-colored beadwork in repeating triangular patterns. Primary Object Classification Sculpture Primary Object TypestaffCollection AreaAfricanRights
If you are interested in using an image for a publication, please visit http://umma.umich.edu/request-image
for more information and to fill out the online Image Rights and Reproductions Request Form.
symbols of office or status