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Scepter

African Art

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Scepter

Artwork Details

Artist/Maker

Yoruba Artist
Nigeria

Date

Late nineteenth–early twentieth century

Medium

Brass

Accession #

2007.274

Dimensions

16 1/2 x 2 x 3 1/2 inches

Location

Currently Not on View

Description

On the day of his coronation, a Yoruba king is presented with a ceremonial sword that represents Odùduwà’s sanction of his appointment. In some cases a king may carry a scepter such as this one, whose bird motif complements the one on his crown, to further proclaim his divine authority and his ability to use it to his subjects’ benefit. The bird at the top of the scepter identifies the king as a descendant of Odùduwà and emphasizes his role as an intermediary between his subjects and the orisa, or gods, in the same way that a bird mediates between heaven and earth.

Credit

Gift of Bernard and Patricia Wagner