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Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Legends of Africa: The Staff of Oranyan

The Staff of Oranyan is a piece of Ife Art.

Oduduwa was the first king of Ife and brother to the Great God. He was sent to continue creation, and in so doing, he had a son, Oranyan.

Oranyan was a great warrior. At a very old age, he retired into a private grove, however if enemies appeared, he would fight them single-handed.

On one evening, a festival was being held and things got out of hand. Several people had gotten drunk and started to attack villagers, so Oranyan was called into the battle.

Oranyan proceeded to kill his own subjects and the villagers asked him to stop. In a rage, and even shocked, he drove his staff into the ground and vowed to never fight again.

Although, the story was told throughout history as a myth, pieces of the staff were unearthed and pieced back together. The staff measure 20 feet high and it's studded with iron nails in a pattern that can't be deciphered.

The history of Ife is still quite cloudy, as many artifacts are still being unearthed today, including bronze heads of kings. In 1910, the Olokun head was discovered which clearly represents a king, or even more bizarre, a god of the sea whose clay images are still made in the region today.


Chris Stonecipher said...

This is very interesting. I learned something new as always from your articles.

RS Wing said...

Yes Lauren, an interesting piece of history indeed. These tribal leaders really did rule with an iron fist. Great article.

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