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Yoruba Bronze Ceremonial Staff - PF.5115
Origin: Southwestern Nigeria
Circa: 19 th Century AD to 20 th Century AD
Dimensions: 14.625" (37.1cm) high x 1.5" (3.8cm) wide
Collection: African
Style: Yoruba
Medium: Bronze

 

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Staffs surmounted by seated male or female figures constitute a rich part of Yoruba tradition and art. This stylized female holds her breasts with paddle-like hands, a gesture emphasizing the nurturing role of women. Her overtly sexual nature, with clearly delineated sex organ, suggests a fertility use of this staff. This belief is enhanced by the effective concentric circles over the navel/womb, indicating the area as a focal point of the infinite life-force. Tightly wound circles are used in a series on the figure's back, where three are joined to each other and attached to a group of three at the base. The lower portion of the back of the head, between a thick braid of hair, continues this geometric theme. A collar of woven strands surrounds her neck and provides a striking textural element. The facial features with its thick, slightly parted lips, fleshy nose and bulbous eyes probably portrays an ideal form of feminine beauty. As such, this staff is both a fascinating work of art and a symbol of the mysterious elements of the female nature. - (PF.5115)

 

 

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