StaffArtist(s)YorubaArtist NationalityYoruba (culture or style)Object Creation Datecirca 1950Medium & Supportwood, beads, metal and clothDimensions
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 LineGift of Margaret H. and Albert J. CoudronSubject 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.
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 TypestaffCollection AreaAfricanRights
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symbols of office or status