?Any work of art owes its existence to the people and culture from which it has emerged. It has a functional and historical relationship with that culture.? Michael W. Conner, PhD#
Staffs are carried and danced with by priestesses and priest in the Sango cult,
dedicated to Sango, the Yoruba deity of thunder and lighting. The female figure represents a worshiper of Shango.
The majority of the Yoruba people live on the west coast of Africa in Nigeria, but can also be found in many other places, as they are one of the largest cultural classifications in Africa. There are approximately 40 million Yoruba world-wide. As a matter of fact, most of the slaves brought to America were Yoruban, and descendants of their tribes can be found everywhere, including Europe, Brazil, Cuba, and the Caribbean. The Yoruba have been constructing and thriving in sophisticated urban kingdoms for more than 1,500 years, and have produced extraordinary art work since the 5th century BC.
A strong financial system was formed through agriculture, trading, and the production of art. They share exceptional and distinctive traditions in the art forms that they create, which includes sculpture, metal and beadwork, textiles, and especially woodcarving, the most important art form in the Yoruba culture. Divination trays, staffs, stools, dance wands, and many other sacred objects are carved out of wood. The men in particular are responsible for woodcarving, utilizing the axe, the adze, the chisel, and the knife. The inspiration, impetus and objective for each piece is what will determine the style and form of art that is being created by each individual. Although the art forms created by the Yoruba are used to decorate and to affirm their social standing,, Their art is also deeply rooted with their spiritual commitment, especially where the art is used as part of a ritual or as a means of communicating with their Gods.
There are over 400 deities that are worshipped by the Yoruba, which are called Orisas. Certain Gods are worshiped by every Yoruban, but there are specific Gods that are worshiped individually by certain families or even towns. Every...