Yoruba Linked Pair of Brass Edan Sculptures

SKU PF.4959

19th Century AD to 20th Century AD


12.5″ (31.8cm) high




Southwestern Nigeria

Gallery Location



The edan represent the original male and female members of the Osugbo society, and consequently stand for all current members of this very important association. When a new member is initiated (ideally the eldest and wisest members of a community), an edan pair is made. Afterwards, the members pay homage to the figures and pledge to maintain scrupulous judgment in all their judicial affairs. Due to their portable size, this lovely edan pain would have been carried in public by an osugbo member, serving as an insignia of office and a protective amulet. The serious expression on both figures suggests the moral vigilance of the society that not even the king is exempt from. Each one places their left fist over the right in a traditional greeting. The joining of the heads by a chain links the “spiritual” essences of male and female, uniting them as a perfect model of family unity and community harmony. As such, we too can identify with this edan, offering to us a physical and spiritual connection with the philosophy and art of an ancient people.

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