This wood carving depicts Shango, the Yoruba god of thunder and lighting.
Click on image for full size
Image Courtesy of the Hamill Gallery of African Art, Boston, MA
Shango, Yoruba God of Thunder and Lightning
Shango was the king of the Oyo kingdom in West Africa. This was where the Yoruba people lived from about 1400 until 1835. Today, there are about 30 million Yoruba people in West Africa, most in Nigeria.
Shango was a powerful king, but some of the people thought Shango was unfair. Shango fled into the forest when is enemies forced him to give up the royal throne. He wandered in the forest for a long time and eventually killed himself.
After Shango died, his enemies' homes were set on fire. Probably it was Shango's friends that did this, but some people believed Shango had gone up into the heavens and was sending fire down to Earth. That’s how Shango became known as the god of thunder and lightning.
Last modified July 24, 2008 by Lisa Gardiner.
Shop Windows to the Universe Science Store!
Our online store
includes issues of NESTA's quarterly journal, The Earth Scientist
, full of classroom activities on different topics in Earth and space science, ranging from seismology
, rocks and minerals
, and Earth system science
You might also be interested in:
Lightning is the coolest thing about a thunderstorm. In fact, it is how thunderstorms got their name. Wait a minute, what does thunder have to do with lightning? Well, lightning causes thunder. Lightning...more
Ahsonnutli was the sky father and chief god of the Navajo. He created heaven, Earth, and the sky. The four main directions are believed to be supported by giants. Each direction has a specific color: white-east;...more
In Roman and Greek mythology, Amphitrite was a beautiful sea nymph. Poseidon (Neptune), who was the god of the sea and earthquakes, fell in love with her at first sight. Amphitrite did not respond to his...more
Aphrodite was the Greek goddess of love and beauty. She was known to the Romans as Venus. To the perfection of her figure and the purity of her features she added an innocent grace. On her sweet face she...more
In Greek mythology, Apollo was the son of Jupiter(in Greek Zeus) and Leto (Letona). He was the god of the Sun, logic, and reason, and was also a fine musician and healer. He was known as the god who could...more
According to an ancient Greek legend, the figure of a gigantic crab was placed in the nighttime sky by the goddess Hera to form the constellation Cancer. Hera swore to kill Heracles, the most famous Greek...more
In the Northern Hemisphere sky is the constellation Cepheus, king of Ethiopia. His wife was Cassiopeia. Cassiopeia claimed that she and her daughter Andromeda were more beautiful than the sea nymphs, the...more