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HOME : African & Tribal Art : Yoruba Sculptures : Yoruba Wooden Shrine Sculpture
Yoruba Wooden Shrine Sculpture - PF.5413
Origin: Southwestern Nigeria
Circa: 20 th Century AD
Dimensions: 41.25" (104.8cm) high x 7.5" (19.1cm) wide
Collection: African
Medium: Wood

Location: Great Britain
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On a type of platform stands this impressive female, who is naked with her left arm raised pressing a hand against her cheek. Her face is oval featuring very large bulging eyes (indicating a spiritual trance state), open mouth revealing teeth, and vertical scarification on the cheeks. The headdress or coiffure is conical in shape, composed of a tier of three grooved bands surmounted by a crest. There is a relief band around the thick, rounded neck suggesting a necklace, similar to the band around the waist. Her breasts extend downwards and her stomach protrudes. At the bottom portion is another smaller female figure stylistically similar to the one above, except for the eyes are more almond-shaped and the face is wider. Carved maternity figures symbolizing fertility are placed on altars or shrines to petition ancestors for children, or as a thank you offering for having been granted children. Yoruba carvers also create similar images for use as veranda posts for the dwellings of important members of the tribe. - (PF.5413)


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