This sculpture is imbedded with a magical
power. Kola nuts, a symbol of fertility, would
have been placed inside the bowl as an offering
for the gods. This would have been one of the
most sacred gifts offered to the gods. The
carving depicts a horse and a rider. The rider, a
symbol of nobility and prestige, sits upon a
saddle placed upon the squat horse. His feet
rest in stirrups, he holds the reigns of the woven
bridal in his left hand and a whip in his right.
The rider’s oversized head dominates with its
long, pointed beard and arching brow. Wide-
eyed, the rider appears to be quite content,
almost smiling. The rim of the bowl that grows
out of the rider’s head has been decorated by a
series of diamond shapes carved in low relief.
This motif no doubt accentuates the importance
of the offering cup. This diminutive sculpture
has a power far greater than its size suggests, a
power to invoke the will of the gods and the
favor of ancestral spirits.