Staff of Office Fragment


This object constitutes only the top half of a staff, because the lower part appears to have been cut off. It was sold to the museum in 1898 by the Liverpool dealer Reginald R Cross. This upper part of the staff is ornamented with three sets of back-to-back figures. The top figures appear to represent a Iyase, wearing his distinctive ceremonial hat and carrying a ceremonial Eben sword. The title of Iyase was given to a powerful military commander who also acted as the peoples’ representative at the Oba’s court. Such staffs would have been carried by representatives of the Iyase to confirm their authority while fulfilling official duties.