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Fan for Osun

African Art

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Fan for Osun

Artwork Details

Artist/Maker

Yoruba Artist
Nigeria

Date

Late nineteenth–early twentieth century

Medium

Brass

Accession #

2008.287

Dimensions

14 x 8 3/4 x 1 1/4 inches

Location

On View - Stent Family Wing, Skyway, Gallery 401

Description

This elegant brass fan was created to honor Osun, the Yoruba goddess of beauty and fertility. Priestesses of Osun carry brass fans in processions along the banks of the Osun River during annual festivals dedicated to the deity. Osun relieves human anxiety in the same way that a fan cools the body. According to Yoruba oral tradition, Osun was excluded from the all-male council of gods. Consequently, their sacrifices were rejected at the door to paradise until Osun gave birth to Èshù, who served as mediator between this world and beyond, allowing order and prosperity to reign.

Credit

Gift of Bernard and Patricia Wagner