Emblem (Edan)

18th–19th century

African Art

Paired male and female edan, figurative staffs, are presented to elder men upon their initiation into the higher ranks of the Òsugbó society of Yoruba elders. In this pair, the female holds a baby and the male smokes a pipe. In use, the staffs are worn suspended by a chain from an individual's neck and symbolize the union of male and female–a force of primordial unity invoked in times of disharmony among community members. The staffs may be placed at the site of a dispute to reconcile the parties, adjudicate claims, or atone for violations.


Brass and iron


23 5/8 × 11 × 3 5/8 in. (60 × 27.9 × 9.2 cm)

Credit Line

Charles B. Benenson, B.A. 1933, Collection

Accession Number



18th–19th century


Note: This electronic record was created from historic documentation that does not necessarily reflect the Yale University Art Gallery’s complete or current knowledge about the object. Review and updating of records is ongoing.



Galerie Balolu (Gerbrand Luttik), Amsterdam: unknown date - November 16, 1989
Charles B. Benenson Collection, donated to Yale University Art Gallery in 2004
  • Frederick John Lamp, Amanda Maples, and Laura M. Smalligan, Accumulating Histories: African Art from the Charles B. Benenson Collection at the Yale University Art Gallery (New Haven, Conn.: Yale University Art Gallery, 2012), 267, ill
  • "Acquisitions, July 1, 2005–June 30, 2006," Yale University Art Gallery Bulletin (2006), 222, 227, ill
Object copyright
Additional information

Object/Work type

emblems (symbols)

Technical metadata and APIs


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