Double-Figured Staff Finial
This finial was once situated atop a staff that was used as a portable shrine to commemorate ancestors. In Akan culture, ancestors look over their descendents and promote their well-being. The upper, bearded figure represents an ancestral spirit and is seated on a standing male figure’s shoulders, serving as his guide. In Baule communities of the Ivory Coast, to be possessed is to have a spirit “fall upon” one. The possessed person is “ridden,” guided by the ancestral spirit.