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Blacksmith’s Staff (Opa Ogun)

African Art

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Blacksmith’s Staff (Opa Ogun)

Artwork Details

Artist/Maker

Yoruba Artist, Abeokuta, Nigeria

Date

Nineteenth century

Medium

Bronze

Accession #

1980.500.74

Dimensions

20 1/2 x 5 1/4 inches

Location

Currently Not on View

Description

Designed for ceremonial use, this staff (òpá Ògún) distinguishes an individual as a senior blacksmith and possibly a renowned hunter and warrior who has been honored by the king with a chieftaincy title. The bird motifs and projections on the figure’s headgear signify an ability to wield enormous physical and metaphysical powers due to close association with Ògún, the Yoruba god of iron.

Credit

Fred and Rita Richman Collection