Odo Sango (Sango Mortar)

By: Adenike Cosgrove Tagged:


These pedestals, odo Sango, are found mostly in by the Igbomina and Ekiti tribes of North Eastern Yorubaland. Associated with the worship of the god of thunder and lightning, Sango, these inverted wood mortars are placed in Sango shrines and used as pedestal bases to hold calabash vessels within which thunder-stones (edun ara) are stored.

A festival is heard annually for the worship of Sango. Before the festival takes place, the odo Sango and other shrine objects are prepared by being washed and re-painted in Sango’s colours (red, white and blue). On the day of the festival, an animal sacrifice is made and it’s blood is poured over the collected edun ara placed in vessels stored on the odo Sango. The babalawo then offers prayers to Sango through Esu (the messenger of Yoruba gods) to acknowledge the sacrifice made.

Distinguishing Features

    • Height = 12 - 16 inches
    • Carved from a solid, single piece of wood
    • Inverted mortar (hollowed out middle)
    • Made of dense, heavy wood
    • The sides of an odo Sango are always carved with a variety of emblems and figures:
        • Depict Sango / Sango babalawo / devotees of Sango / ose Sango / ram’s head
        • Scenes carved in high relief

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