Sango Staff: Kneeling Female Figure  (Ose Sango), Onakunle Aribikona, Wood, Yoruba peoples

Sango Staff: Kneeling Female Figure (Ose Sango)

Onakunle Aribikona
20th century
Nigeria, Gbongan region
Yoruba peoples
H. 12 x W. 3 1/8 x D. 2 1/4 in. (30.5 x 7.9 x 5.7 cm)
Credit Line:
Gift of Martin L. Schulman, M.D., 1983
Accession Number:
Not on view
The ritual paraphernalia associated with worship of the god Sango was originally developed at the court of the kings of Oyo during the eighteenth century. The primary emblem of Sango's followers is the ose Sango, a wooden shaft with a double ax-head motif at the summit. Within the parameters of this artifact's basic form, the design of its shaft has been endlessly reinterpreted with great imagination by Yoruba artists.

On the occasion of annual festivals, ose Sango are removed from the altars of shrines dedicated to Sango and carried as dance wands by devotees who sing his praises. While the imagery evoked in that form of oral poetry focuses upon Sango's hot temper and capricious behavior, the visual representation featured on the ose Sango presents his followers in attitudes of devotion, serenely balancing the god's twin thunderbolts upon their heads.
Martin L. Schulman, M.D., Great Neck, NY, until 1983