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HOME : African & Tribal Art : Yoruba Onile Sculptures : Yoruba Lead Onile Sculpture of a Man
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Yoruba Lead Onile Sculpture of a Man - PF.4749
Origin: Southwestern Nigeria
Circa: 17 th Century AD to 19 th Century AD
Dimensions: 4.75" (12.1cm) high x 2" (5.1cm) wide
Collection: African Art
Medium: Lead

Location: United States
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The male and female figures known collectively as an edan represents a crucial moral and social symbol in Yoruba culture, especially among members of the Osugbo society. Each Osugbo lodge owns an edan as a visual representation of the union of opposites, of male and female energy forces. Though their sexual organs are clearly visible, the pair is considered a single whole, the one implying the existence of the other, inseparable in spirit and in life.

This handsome figure shows the male holding tightly onto a cylindrical object, just as does his female counterpart. The object is somewhat phallic in shape and indicates a fertility connection. His breast are prominent, yet flattened in comparison to the full breasts of the female. His peaked cap may have originated from actual ones worn by early members of the Osugbo, or be an archetypal feature. This same principle of artistic elements coming from ancient models may explain the distinctive facial features of bulging eyes, oval face and elongated cheeks. Such details were passed on from one artist to another for generations. The edan stands for many things, but principally the union of man and woman, joined together in loving harmony for eternity.
- (PF.4749)


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