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Engage your students with the collections of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, to illustrate themes and concepts in any discipline.

Staff with birds

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In earlier settings these staffs were emblems of healers and associated with the Yoruba deity Osanyin, the god of herbal medicines. The fifteen birds clustered around a central avian image are associated with the mystical powers of "Our Mothers" and the divination process, and occur frequently...

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1970s, sold by unidentified African merchant in Cambridge, MA, to Geneviève McMillan, Cambridge, MA; gift of McMillan to MFA. (Accession Date: June 17, 2009)

Credit Line

Gift of Geneviève McMillan in memory of Reba Stewart

African, Yoruba peoples, Nigeria, 20th century, 1950–2000

Object Place



Overall (without base): 34.5 x 18 x 20 cm (13 9/16 x 7 1/16 x 7 7/8 in.) Lender Accessory (base): 2 x 8.5 x 9 cm (13/16 x 3 3/8 x 3 9/16 in.)

Accession Number


Medium or Technique



Africa and Oceania