10 13/16 in. x 2 3/16 in. x 1 3/4 in. (27.5 cm x 5.5 cm x 4.5 cm)
Bryn Mawr College
33 (154) (Neufeld Collection Number)
154 (Sotheby's Lot Number)
Ceremonial and Performance Artifacts; Ritual Objects
Yoruba, Nigerian, West African, African
The Ogboni society is one of the most prominent associations in Yorubaland, consisting of female and male elders who are responsible for ensuring that the leader does not abuse his power. Pairs of these brass figures are commissioned whenever a new member is inducted into the society. Always comprised of a male and a female figure, the brass pair represents the male and female founders of the Ogboni society and their ability to work together as one body and the necessary balance they provide to the wider community. Unlike other ritual symbols belonging to the Ogboni society, edan are allowed to be viewed by the general public. Imbued with ashe (spiritual power or life force), the edan have the ability to provide protection to the wearer and to relay messages.
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- Styles and cultures from the region comprising the westernmost area of the African continent, defined by the United Nations as including the modern nations of Benin, Burkina Faso, Côte d'Ivoire, Cape Verde, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Liberia, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Nigeria, Senegal, Sierra Leone, and Togo.