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Yoruba (Yorba, Yorouba), Nigeria, Benin and Togo

Pair of edan. In Yorubaland the function of the barons was discharged by the Ogboni society. Every town or village has its Oba, whose power is limited by the almost equal power of the Ogboni elders. Every Ogboni house besides several drums has at least one pair of edan, which are short iron rod onto which human figures, one male and one female, have been cast in brass. These figures, which are joined by the chain attached to the heads, are kept in the inner sanctuary of the house, to which none but full members of Ogboni may penetrate. It is, however, permissible for the keeper of the edan to bring them out and show them to visitors who are privileged to enter the main courts of the house. The function of the edan has not yet been clearly established. Some have alleged that they were used for execution of humans.

Material: iron, brass

Size of each: H. 13”, W. 2”, D. 2”    

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