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HOME : African & Tribal Art : Masterpieces of African Art : Yoruba Wooden Stool
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Yoruba Wooden Stool - PF.4539
Origin: Southwestern Nigeria
Circa: 19th th Century AD to 20th th Century AD
Dimensions: 16" (40.6cm) high x 9" (22.9cm) wide
Collection: African
Medium: Wood


Location: Great Britain
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Description
The search for symbolic content in art is much like hunting for treasure; where the least expected is often the most rewarding. An object may contain many layers of meaning, seen at a glance or slowly revealed over time, which may perplex and hopefully enlighten. This handsome stool is just such an object that is more than it seems--both simple and profound at once.

Yoruba kings were once regarded as of divine origin and possessing supernatural powers. Today, the chiefs still exercise great authority based on royal lineage and as guarantors of the continuity of power. A chief owns many treasured possessions including scepters, axes, neck-rests and stools sculpted with female figures. As important symbols of power these objects must not only be beautifully created, but also possess their own strength and authority. Therefore, the Yoruba artist is highly respected and enjoys a privileged position in society. In this delicately carved stool we see qualities so important to a clan's cohesion: hierarchical balance, solidity, and dignity. The lovely female head represents the fortitude women must maintain, being both separate beings and strong supports to their men. In an object that has a functional purpose as a stool or cover for a receptacle, we see a symbolic image of Yoruba values and beliefs, blended together in a single form of lovely detail, fine lines and elegant presence.
- (PF.4539)

 

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