This ceremonial dagger likely originates from the Yoruba peoples of Nigeria, where Dr. Turner spent time in 1951 and 1952. It may have been worn or used in ceremonies relating to the celebration of Shango, one of the most important orisha within the Yoruban religion, who sometimes is accompanied by a dagger in representations or venerations of him.
If not used for religious ceremonies, the dagger may simply have been a decorative or symbolic addition to the bearer's appearance. A dagger of course also can serve a functional purpose, as a sharp blade would be essential within community life. In addition, such a dagger could provide decoration for the home, or could be used to denote a person's rank.