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Staff

Accession Number
2001/2.45

Title
Staff

Artist(s)
Yoruba

Artist Nationality
Yoruba (culture or style)

Object Creation Date
circa 1950

Medium & Support
wood, beads, metal and cloth

Dimensions
44 1/2 in x 6 7/8 in x 3 3/8 in (113 cm x 17.5 cm x 8.5 cm);44 1/2 in x 6 7/8 in x 3 3/8 in (113 cm x 17.5 cm x 8.5 cm)

Credit Line
Gift of Margaret H. and Albert J. Coudron

Subject matter
Among the Yoruba peoples of Nigeria beaded objects, such as this staff, highlighted the power and authority of their owners; in Yoruba society, only aláàsè, or those who could mediate forces in orun, the realm of orisas (gods) and spirits were allowed to wear beads. The figure of the horserider might himself represent a ruler, too, as indicated by his crown and staff, as well as his possession of a horse. The veil suspended from the platform suggests the veil seen on the most sacred of the crowns worn by an oba, the adenla. The platform might be filled with power substances, since beads are surrogates for their owners and carry the "spirit" or ase of the ruler in his or her absence. The staff can be planted in the ground with its iron tip: the firm, vertical stance of the staff asserts the ruler's power, authority and potential for action.

References Cited: 
Drewal, Henry John and John Mason. 1998. Beads Body and Soul. Los Angeles: UCLA Fowler Museum of Cultural History. 

Physical Description
Wooden staff covered with beads, displaying a zig-zag pattern in blue, white, red, yellow, and pink along the shaft, with a metal point at the base. The finial (top of the staff) consists of an equestrian figure, mostly in green, wearing an elaborate red-and-yellow crown, holding a blue staff and riding a multicolored horse, which stands on a rectangular platform adorned with a fringe of beads.

Primary Object Classification
Costume and Costume Accessories

Primary Object Type
staff

Collection Area
African

Rights
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. Keywords
Figures
ceremonial costume
costume accessories
equestrians
horsemen
kings (people)
power
regalia
staff
symbols of office or status

& Author Notes

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