Yoruba Artist, Nigeria
16 1/2 x 2 x 3 1/2 inches
Gift of Bernard and Patricia Wagner
Currently Not on View
On the day of his coronation, a Yoruba king is presented with a ceremonial sword that represents Odùduwà’s sanction of his appointment. In some cases a king may carry a scepter such as this one, whose bird motif complements the one on his crown, to further proclaim his divine authority and his ability to use it to his subjects’ benefit. The bird at the top of the scepter identifies the king as a descendant of Odùduwà and emphasizes his role as an intermediary between his subjects and the orisa, or gods, in the same way that a bird mediates between heaven and earth.