Figurated tongs for Oshugbo Society rituals

CULTURE:
Yoruba peoples
DATE:
1900-1950
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General Description

Ogboni (called Oshugbo in Ijebu) emblems include cast metal emblems with complex imagery. The tongs, which were used for picking up sacrificial materials during Oboni society rituals, are embellished with human heads. The opposed crescents on the forehead may be an abstract rendering of the “edan bird,” which protected Ogboni members.

Among the Yoruba, the Ogboni/Oshugbo society was simultaneously a civic court, a town council, a patron of the arts, and an electoral college that selected the king. Its membership was composed of distinguished religious, social, and political leaders, including women, who worked together to assure the well-being of the community.

Excerpt from

Roslyn A. Walker, Label text, Arts of Africa, 2015.