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Edan Ogboni

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unknown Yoruba
Yoruba Primary

Edan Ogboni

19th century - 20th century
Copper Alloy

1 3/16 in. x 1 3/16 in. x 5 7/8 in. (3 cm x 3 cm x 15 cm)

Bryn Mawr College
Accession Number: 2003.27.6
Other Number(s): King Collection TN-10b (Temporary Number)
Geography: Africa, Nigeria
Classification: Ceremonial and Performance Artifacts; Ritual Objects
Culture/Nationality: Yoruba, Nigerian, West African, African
Collection: King Collection
Description: 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.

Keywords Click a term to view the records with the same keyword
This object has the following keywords:
  • African - Refers to the cultures of the continent of Africa, which is bounded by the Atlantic Ocean, the Indian Ocean, and the Mediterranean Sea.
  • copper alloy - Alloy in which copper is the principle element.
  • edan - Twinned brass images, one male, the other female, joined by a chain, usually around the neck. The edan serve as a main sculptural form of the Yoruba Ogboni secret society in Africa.
  • Nigerian
  • West African - 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.
  • Yoruba

Additional Images Click an image to view a larger version
Additional Image 2003.27.6_BMC_f_2.jpg
Additional Image 2003.27.6_BMC_f.jpg
Additional Image 2003.27.6_BMC_r.jpg
Additional Image 2003.27.6_BMC_r_2.jpg
Additional Image 2003.27.6_BMC_f_2.jpg
Additional Image 2003.27.6_BMC_f.jpg

  • Owner Name: Bruce and Adele King, in memory of Nicole M. King, Class of 1986
    Role: Donor
    Place: Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania, US
    Acquisition Method: Purchased in Ibadan, Nigeria from house to house traders
    Ownership Start Date: 1962-1964
    Ownership End Date: June 6, 2003

Related Bibliography List
The following Related Bibliography exist for this object:
  • "ÌMỌ̀ DÁRA." (Accessed May 10, 2020):
  • Stefan Eisenhofer, ed. Kulte, Künstler, Könige in Afrika: Tradition und Moderne in Südnigeria (Linz, Austria: des Oberösterreichisches Landesmuseums, 1977), 218-231.
  • Hans Witte, Earth and the Ancestors: Ogboni Iconography (Amsterdam: Gallery Balolu, 1988),

Portfolio List Click a portfolio name to view all the objects in that portfolio
This object is a member of the following portfolios:

If you would like to cite this object in a Wikipedia article please use the following template:

<ref name=BMC>cite web |url= |title=Edan Ogboni |author=Bryn Mawr College Library Special Collections |accessdate=3/20/2023 |publisher=Bryn Mawr College</ref>

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