Fon Iron Phallus Symbol of Fertility Dahomey Nigeria
An iron phallic figure from the Fon people used as a symbol of fertility and placed in shrines. Their pieces are commonly found on Fon altars and are said to be a powerful medium used in voodoo (vodun) spirituality or religious practices.
The Fon people, also known as the Dahomey people, were the dominant ethnic group in this kingdom. They are from the Dahomey Kingdom, which was located in present-day Benin, West Africa.
Dahomey art is renowned for its intricate and skillfully crafted ironwork. Iron was considered a precious material in the region, and the Fon artisans developed a high level of expertise in working with it. Iron objects created by these artisans were primarily used for ceremonial and religious purposes.
One of the most notable types of ironwork from Dahomey is the Gelede mask. Gelede is a masquerade tradition practiced by the Yoruba people, who lived in the neighboring regions of Dahomey. These masks, made from iron and sometimes other materials like wood or fabric, were used in performances to honor and appease the spirits of the elderly women in the community. Gelede masks are characterized by their elaborate headdresses, often featuring intricate ironwork designs.
In addition to masks, other iron objects created by Dahomey artisans included figures, tools, weapons, and architectural elements. These pieces often showcased the blacksmiths' exceptional skill in manipulating iron and their ability to create intricate patterns and designs.