Calabash rattle, Nigeria, 1851-1920

1851-1920 in Nigeria
Yoruba people

Buy this image as a print 

License this image for commercial use at Science and Society Picture Library

Science Museum Group Collection
© The Board of Trustees of the Science Museum

Club shaped calabash rattle covered with cloth and stitched all over with various objects, used by priest of Shango cult, Yoruba, Nigeria, West African, 1851-1920

This club-shaped rattle was used by a priest of the Shango cult from the Yoruba people of Nigeria, West Africa. Shango is the Yoruba god of thunder and is worshipped as a healing god. The priest would go into a trance-like state and, using the rattle to communicate with Shango, receive recipes for medical treatments. Treatment of the sick and diseased involved the whole community rather than just the individual. The rattle is made from a gourd called a calabash, and has cloth, shells, wood and metal stitched on to the surface.

Related people


Ethnography and Folk Medicine
Object Number:
bone, gourd, metal (unknown), shell, textile and wood (unidentified)
overall (lying flat): 118 mm x 356 mm x 122 mm, 115 mm, 0.268 kg
  • furnishing and equipment
  • sound device
  • idiophone
  • struck idiophone
On loan from the Wellcome Trust

Cite this page


We encourage the use and reuse of our collection data.

Data in the title, made, maker and details fields are released under Creative Commons Zero

Descriptions and all other text content are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 licence

Using our data


Download catalogue entry as json

View manifest in IIIF viewer

Add to Animal Crossing Art Generator

Download manifest IIIF

Our records are constantly being enhanced and improved, but please note that we cannot guarantee the accuracy of any information shown on this website.