Height staff: 42 cm
Height Figure: 17 cm
Iron, brass, surmounted by a seated male figure with chinbeard and hat, a knife on the side, a chief staff on shoulder.
Chief Blacksmith’s Poker ” Iwana Ogun”,Yoruba bronze – Nigeria. Such staffs are made in the name of “ogun”, the god of blacksmiths and warriors, .
The Chief Blacksmith's Poker “Iwana Ogun” is a Yoruba bronze male figure mounted on a metal staff, which originated in Nigeria. This particular sculpture is a representation of Ogun, the Yoruba god of blacksmiths and warfare, who is in charge of all products made by them and is therefore highly valued and revered by the Yoruba people.
They are prerogatives of the head of blacksmiths and also emblems of the war chiefs.
“Ogun's” nature is often characterized by singing, and devotees of the iron god may sacrifice dogs to their deity.
The figure of Ogun is depicted in a seated position, with one hand on his chest and the other holding a staff, which symbolizes his role as the god of blacksmiths and metalworkers. He wears a braided belt and an anklet on each leg, not hiding his masculinity and is adorned with a knife on his belt, including a prominent crest or headpiece. His facial features are well-defined and expressive, with a prominent nose, a dotted beard, and cowrie shaped eyes.
The plain metal staff on which the figure is mounted is ending in an angle, and mounted on a metal base. The staff is intended to represent the power and authority of the Chief Blacksmith, who would have been responsible for crafting many of the important tools and weapons used in Yoruba society.
Overall, the Chief Blacksmith's Poker “Iwana Ogun” is a stunning example of Yoruba bronze artistry and a powerful symbol of the role of blacksmiths and metalworkers in Yoruba culture and mythology.
Estimated age : end XIXth, early XXth.
German Private Collection, Hamburg (coll. in situ 1959-1965)
Zemanek-Münster, Würzburg, 28 June 2014, Lot 390
Jo de Buck, Brussels.