Osanyin Iron Staffs


Kenya National Archives

Kenya National Archives
Nairobi, Kenya

These iron staffs (often in bird form of great beauty) were reserved for the Yoruba cult of Osanyin, the spirit or principle of medicine, health and life force. The Osanyin diviners hold vast knowledge of nature (human animal and plants) and the secret restorative and protective powers which the forests hold for mankind are used in ancilliary role of a specialist in pharmacology and healing, for which they employ these ion staffs. Like miniature trees, birds, which allude to both the forests as a source of medicine, summount the staffs and to the negative forces of witchcraft (often depicted as a 'gathering of birds) which diviners are commited to counteract through divination and ritual healing.


  • Title: Osanyin Iron Staffs
  • Creator: Unknown
  • Date: 1880/2000
  • Location: Nigerian
  • Type: Iron Staffs
  • Rights: Kenya National Archives

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