Yoruba Artist, Abeokuta, Nigeria
Blacksmith's Staff (Opa Ogun)
20 1/2 x 5 1/4 inches
Fred and Rita Richman Collection
Designed for ceremonial use, this staff (òpá Ògún) distinguishes an individual as a senior blacksmith and possibly a renowned hunter and warrior who has been honored by the king with a chieftaincy title. The bird motifs and projections on the figure’s headgear signify an ability to wield enormous physical and metaphysical powers due to close association with Ògún, the Yoruba god of iron.