17.5″ Tall (44.5 cm)
Yoruba Shango Dance Wand. Carved as a male devotee of Shango, the Yoruba thunder deity. Such a dance wands was carried by devotees at the annual festival of Shango and on other ritual occasions. During the Shango festival, devotees would dance in the streets to the thunderous rhythms of the bata drums. The dance wand would have presented a dramatic image when seen in the hand of a dancing devotee. It was waved in violent and threatening gestures to imitate the dangerous powers of Shango: unpredictable, violent, and creative and destructive – all at the same time. The Shango ritual would reach a climax when one of the devotees became possessed by Shango himself.