spear, fetish, burkina faso, metal, moesgaard museum, de etnografiske samlinger, ethnography, collections, museum, aarhus, denmark

Fetish from Burkina Faso

Leave a comment

The word ‘fetish’ probably brings up some rather saucy mental images to most of our readers. But in anthropology, a ‘fetish’ is an object, which is considered to be imbued with spiritual power or magical potency. This metal spear from Boulon in Burkina Faso might not look very magical, but according to the anthropologist Phine Kjær Wiborg, who collected it, this metal spear is something rather special:

“In the Karaboro culture you worship your fetish. Not all families have one. The fetish priest of the village usually has several different ones, which he travels far and wide to buy and collect. As a very sacred object, it is used to bridge the two worlds.

Usually it is only men, who handle fetishes. If a family has such a fetish as this one, it is used by women during their circumcision rites and during wedding celebrations. A woman holds it in her hand, point turned towards the ground, and sometimes she will even dance with it”.

Sometimes the simplest things can hide the most magical stories.


//Sophie Seebach

Posted by

putting thought to things

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.