West Africa, Nigeria, Yoruba people, early 20th century CE. A tall iron staff with two groups of long bells spaced out along it. The staff is capped by a bird finial below an upside-down group of four bells. The bird has a thin, arched neck and a large body, like a form of guinea fowl or peacock. Rather than being a solid piece, the bird's body is formed of long, spiralled strips of iron with flat sheets forming the wings. Size: 6.8" W x 44.55" H (17.3 cm x 113.2 cm)
Birds have a special significance to the Yoruba, representing the triumph of good over evil, and staffs of this kind are called Osun babalawo.
See a similar example at the Metropolitan Museum of Art (1991.375.4).
Provenance: Adeon Gallery, Chicago, Illinois, USA, acquired prior to 1970
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