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HOME : African & Tribal Art : Yoruba Sculptures : Yoruba Ogboni Brass Sculpture
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Yoruba Ogboni Brass Sculpture - PF.5988
Origin: Nigeria
Circa: 18 th Century AD to 19 th Century AD
Dimensions: 8.25" (21.0cm) high x 1.75" (4.4cm) wide
Collection: African
Style: Yoruba
Medium: Brass

Location: United States
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The Yoruba are noted for the artistic excellence of their metalwork. Traditionally one of the most popular tribe among African art collectors and scholars, they are also famed for their fabulous beadwork and wooden masks and sculptures. As in most of Africa, the works of art are created to celebrate the wealth and splendor of the king, called the Oba by the Yoruba. Otherwise, most art relates to representations of ancestors and spiritual deities. This fascinating sculpture depicts a female warrior brandishing a massive sword. In her left hand she holds an object shaped like a flywhisk. Flywhisk where typically used by royal servants and are considered among the most prestigious objects of royal regalia. Otherwise, this woman is ornately embellished with various bracelets, anklets, and a necklace. There is evidence of raised scarification along the nape of her neck, across her breasts, and around her pubic region. These ornamental scarification were believed to enhance a persons sexual desirability as well as indicating their rank within society. Atop her head, she is crowned with a beaded headdress typical of the royal court. In real life, these crowns are designed in fabulous colors and often feature birds and other such animals adorning them, as is the case with this bronze example. The styling of her facial features is typical of the Yoruba style, especially the bulging eyes. The combination of abstract and representational detail reveals that this figure is no ordinary woman but possesses a spiritual energy that cannot be conveyed by mimicking the forms of reality. Gazing upon this sculpture, we are transported back to the regal splendors of the royal court of the Oba. Likely presented upon a shrine or make-shift altar, this sculpture might have served as a spiritual guardian that warded off the forces of evil. Thus she will continue to protect us from harm today. - (PF.5988)


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