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Image of Oshe Shango (Shango Dance Wand)

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Bookmark: http://triarte.brynmawr.edu/objects-1/info/145964



unknown Yoruba
Yoruba Primary



Oshe Shango (Shango Dance Wand)

19th century - 20th century
Carved wood with patina

13 in. x 6 1/2 in. x 2 3/4 in. (33.02 cm x 16.51 cm x 6.99 cm)

Bryn Mawr College
Accession Number: 99.5.39
Other Number(s): 82-40 (Neufeld Collection Number)
Geography: Africa, Nigeria
Classification: Ceremonial and Performance Artifacts; Ritual Objects
Culture/Nationality: Yoruba, Nigerian, West African, African
Collection: Neufeld Collection
This double-edged axe of the Yoruba Orisha Shango is referred to as an Edun Ara, and represents Shango's power as the god of thunder. Shango was the king of Oyo, where the facial scarification pattern, or abaja, are sets of three lines, referenced by the sets of three stripes carved onto each side of the blade.

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.
  • carvings - Refers to works executed by cutting a figure or design out of a solid material such as stone or wood. It typically refers to works that are relatively small in size, are part of a larger work, or are not considered art. For large and medium-sized three-dimensional works of art, use the broader term "sculpture" or another appropriate term.
  • Nigerian
  • oshe Shango - Carved staffs bearing heads shaped like double-headed axes, carried by devotees of the Yoruba god Shango and used in ceremonies as dance wands.
  • ritual objects - Objects used for a particular ritual activity, often as part of a ceremony.
  • sacred objects - Broadly, ceremonial objects that retain their sacredness in their present context. Sometimes defined more narrowly as only those needed by a present-day culture to practice their religion. For objects that are used primarily for a religious ceremony or function, but are not necessarily in themselves considered sacred, use "religious objects."
  • scarifications - Refers to permanent marks, such as symbols, patterns, or other designs, made on human skin by scarring, done for social or cultural reasons or for personal decoration.
  • 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.
  • wood - The principal tissue of trees and other plants that provides both strength and a means of conducting nutrients. Wood is one of the most versatile materials known.
  • Yoruba

Additional Images Click an image to view a larger version

Provenance History
  • Owner Name: Mace Neufeld and Helen Katz Neufeld, Class of 1953
    Role: Donor
    Place: Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania, US
    Ownership End Date: 7/18/1991


Comparanda List
The following Comparanda exist for this object:
  • Stefan Eisenhofer, ed. Kulte, Künstler, Könige in Afrika: Tradition und Moderne in Südnigeria (Linz, Austria: des Oberösterreichisches Landesmuseums, 1977), 213. Figure Number: 2.18

Related Bibliography List
The following Related Bibliography exist for this object:
  • "Google Arts & Culture." (Accessed May 14, 2020): https://artsandculture.google.com/. https://artsandculture.google.com/asset/shango-dance-wand-oshe-shango/8gFszPBUhGQB_A.
  • Monica Blackmun Visona and Robin Poynor. A History of Art in Africa (Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson Education, Inc., 2001), 250-252. Figure Number: 8-36
  • Jean- Baptiste Bacquart, The Tribal Arts of Africa (New York, NY: Thames & Hudson, 1998), 100. Figure Number: 1,5
  • Rowland Abiodun, Yoruba Art and Language: Seeking the African in African Art (New York, New York: Cambridge University Press, 2014), 278-279. Figure Number: 128
  • Stefan Eisenhofer, ed. Kulte, Künstler, Könige in Afrika: Tradition und Moderne in Südnigeria (Linz, Austria: des Oberösterreichisches Landesmuseums, 1977), 204-217.

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=http://triarte.brynmawr.edu/objects-1/info/145964 |title=Oshe Shango (Shango Dance Wand) |author=Bryn Mawr College Library Special Collections |accessdate=5/20/2022 |publisher=Bryn Mawr College</ref>

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