Double-figured Staff Finial

Akan Artist, Ivory Coast1875/1925

High Museum of Art

High Museum of Art
Atlanta, GA, United States

This finial was once situated atop a staff that was used as portable shrine to commemorate ancestors. In Akan culture, ancestors look over their descendents and promote their well-being. The upper, bearded figure represents an ancestral spirit and is seated on a standing male figure’s shoulders, serving as his guide. In Baule communities of the Ivory Coast, to be possessed is to have a spirit “fall upon” one. The possessed person is “ridden,” guided by the ancestral spirit.


  • Title: Double-figured Staff Finial
  • Creator: Akan Artist, Ivory Coast
  • Date: 1875/1925
  • Provenance: Purchase with funds from Fred and Rita Richman
  • Type: Wood (non-furniture)
  • Rights: Photo © 2015 High Museum of Art
  • External Link: High Museum of Art: www.high.org
  • Medium: Wood, brass tacks, white beads, fiber
  • Dimensions: 19 1/2 inches

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