Ceremonial staff

20th century, 1950–2000
Artist Unidentified

Object Place: Liberia or Cote d'Ivoire


Overall: 145.5 x 7 x 6 cm (57 5/16 x 2 3/4 x 2 3/8 in.)

Accession Number


Medium or Technique

Wood, metal, cloth, string

Not On View


Africa and Oceania, Contemporary Art


Personal accessories

This Dan ceremonial staff is in the shape of a spear with three heads carved into its handle. Staffs, such as this one, indicate that the owner is an important member of his community. Staffs and other prestige items are associated with chiefly titles and other local authorities. Such items served as highly visible displays of wealth and power.


Acquired in Paris by Geneviève McMillan (b. 1922 - d. 2008), Cambridge, MA; 2008, to the Geneviève McMillan and Reba Stewart Foundation, Cambridge; 2009, gift of the Geneviève McMillan and Reba Stewart Foundation to the MFA. (Accession Date: June 17, 2009)

Credit Line

Gift of Geneviève McMillan in memory of Reba Stewart