SALE END DATE AND TIME
July 31, 2016 : SALE CLOSED
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Shango is the Yoruba god of thunder and lightning, and the double-axe motif atop this piece with secondary face is a metaphor for the thunderbolt that Shango hurls down from the sky at those who do not respect him. Oshe Shango are dance wands (such as this piece) that Yoruba deities carry, cradle, wave, and thrust during dances in Shango’s honor. At times they are simply kept a reliquary on a shrine devoted to Shango.
This piece, from the collection of Merton Simpson, called what some refer to as a "paraded or processional" finial, has a very interesting patina with a luster on the main handle that is the result of decades of handling, rubbing, and use. As a result of age and handling, the face on the substructure, a rare feature of Yoruba wands, and the other surface details on the piece have worn down, resulting in a strong character that a new piece would never possess. As many collecters are aware, the secondary face, embedded atop the superstructure that forms the axe, is an uncommon detail which can be found in some of the finest examples of Shango material acquired in the pantheon of collections of African art. Shango Shrine photo source, 'The Yoruba of Southwestern Nigeria by William Bascom. Copyright ©1969 by Holt, Rinehart and Winston, Inc.
|Lot ID: 94|
|Low Estimate: $3,000|
|High Estimate: $6,000|
|Next Bid: $1,500|
|Sale ID: 6|
|Sale Date: July 28, 2016|
|Sale Location: Virtual Auction|
|Sale Sponsor: African Artworks from Berz Gallery of African Art|
|Sale Terms: View here|
|Live Bidding Link: SALE CLOSED|
|Location of Origin: Africa|
|Medium/Materials: wood, stain, encrustation|
|Dimensions: 15" (38.1 cm) height x 5.5" (13.97 cm) width|
|Primary Classification: African Artwork, Ethnographic & Tribal Arts : African Art : Country - Nigeria|
|Secondary Classification: African Artwork, Ethnographic & Tribal Arts : African Art : Object Type - Other|
|The word ‘Yoruba’ describes both a language and a tribe living across Nigeria and the Popular Republic of Benin, in an area of forest and savannah. Their origins can be traced back to the end of the first millennium like the civilization of Ife. Following the collapse of the Ife civilization, a number of kingdoms such as the Ijebu and the Oyo emerged. They, in turn, disintegrated during the 18th and 19th centuries, but were revived by the colonial powers at the end of the 19th century and today still form the political structure of the Yoruba people. The enormous scale of the slave trade in Nigeria contributed to the Diaspora of the Yoruba people and informed spiritual practices in countries such as Haiti (Ref: Bacquart, “Tribal Arts of Africa”; Beckwith and Fisher, “African Ceremonies”; Fagg, Pemberton and Holcombe, “Yoruba,” 1982). Yoruba culture and links to traditional Yoruba religion and belief systems are integrated heavily in an area that spans the Caribbean and Southern United States and Cuba, Brazil and Latin America, and throughout parts of Europe and Africa. Further expertise:Yoruba: Nine Centuries of African Art and Thought, Drewal, Pemberton III, Abiodun, Wardwell, Ibeji, Chemeche, Yoruba: An Art of Life, Cooksey and Mato, Ibeji: The Cult of Yoruba Twins, Chemeche |
An outstanding description of the Shango story is provided in Visona,
“Shango, who controls thunder, is associated with the expansion of the Oyo empire in western Yorubaland. The historical personage Shango, a descendant of Oranmiyan, was the tyrannical fourth king of Oyo. Oral traditions maintain that he was a despot, coerced into surrendering his crown and committing suicide. His supporters denied his death and declared that he had become a god, merged with the forces of thunder and lightning, which they could call down on their enemies. The Shango legend illustrates a significant aspect of Yoruba orisha; they are not idealized. Shango was a sacred king, but he is still presented as a remorseless despot whose need for control overstepped the boundaries suitable to political authority. In his attempt to control mystical and magical powers, he was unable to master them and was eventually controlled by them. Once a mortal, Shango did not die, but he commands great powers of nature as an orisha. In dreadful storms he hurls flashes of lightning upon those who do not respect him. These thunderbolts take the form of ancient stone axes that are exposed on the surface of the earth after heavy rains.” (Visona, pg 250)
An additional description is provided by Roberts in “A Sense of Wonder”:
“Shango, the Yoruba god of thunder and lightning, provider of children and protector of twins, was the legendary fourth king of the powerful18th century Oyo Empire. After his death, Shango's supporters obtained powerful medicines to defend Shango's name, raise violent thunderstorms, and cause lightning to strike Shango's enemies. They demanded that Shango be recognized as a god. Fearing Shango's continued vengeance, prayers were said, shrines established, and priestesses initiated as mediators between Shango and his community. This Oshe Shango dance wand is one of the many art forms associated with the reverence of Shango.”
|Provenance: Ex. Private Collection, NY, Ex. Merton Simpson, NY|
|Price:||Price on Request|
|Offered By:||CLOSED: African Artworks : 146 Lots : July 28-30|
|Contact:||The Curator's Eye|
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