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Dance Staff for Esu/Elegba

African Art

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Dance Staff for Esu/Elegba

Artwork Details


Yoruba Artist


Late nineteenth–early twentieth century



Accession #



16 x 3 1/2 x 8 inches


On View - Stent Family Wing, Skyway, Gallery 401


In this dance staff made to honor Èshù, two faces look in opposite directions. Èshù is a deity honored by the Yoruba people of Nigeria and known throughout the African Diaspora as Elegua or Elegba. Èshù mediates opposing forces to bring together different worlds. He bears messages from the ancestral and spiritual realms, opens doors, and guards crossroads. Shrines to Èshù are placed wherever there is potential for conflict. Though known as a mischief-maker and agent provocateur, Èshù ultimately works to promote order and harmony in the universe. Èshù teaches wisdom, reminding people to look at the world from more than one point of view.


Fred and Rita Richman Collection