Barakat Gallery
Login | Register | User Services | Search | Newsletter Sign-up
Barakat Gallery
HOME : African & Tribal Art : AS collection : Yoruba Brass Onile Sculpture of a Man
Click to view original image.
Yoruba Brass Onile Sculpture of a Man - PF.5126 (LSO)
Origin: Southwestern Nigeria
Circa: 19 th Century AD to 20 th Century AD
Dimensions: 10.75" (27.3cm) high
Collection: African
Medium: Brass


Additional Information: AS

Location: Great Britain
Ask a Question
Email to a Friend
Previous Item
Next Item
Photo Gallery
Click photo to change image.
Print image
Click photo to change image.
Print image
Click photo to change image.
Print image
Click photo to change image.
Print image
Click photo to change image.
Print image
Description
This stern figure of a standing man is connected with the Yoruba Ogboni (Osugbo) society. The rendering is reminiscent of the Ijebu style, with bifaceted eyes, a high, long nose and a high, flat- topped hat. The torso is long, with spindly arms grasping the penis; the legs are short, with large feet, and each side adorned with the profile of a bird (?). The figure is essentially nude, with decorated both front and back by beaded bands.

The Yoruba are a Central Nigerian tribal group, originally descended from a Hausa migration from the northeast in about 900 AD. A small kingdom – Ile Ife – was founded by Oduduwa, followed by great sociopolitical expansion into Southwest Nigeria, Benin, and Togo. Communities were presided over by the Oba (king) and various senates (Ogboni), and councils made up of guild leaders, merchants and the lesser aristocracy (related to the Oba). The Yoruba have an exceptionally rich and diverse mythology, history and religious context, all of which are directly linked to their artistic output.

Ogboni is a Yoruban institution that exercises social, judicial and sociopolitical power over the populace and even exercises control over regents in local monarchies. They are gerontocratic, generally benign, and focused upon the veneration of the earth (Ile or Odua). Membership of the Ogboni is a major indicator of status in Yoruba society, and this status is reinforced through the commissioning of religious and courtly paraphernalia. Most Ogboni pieces – which include jewellery and sculptures –are made of brass/copper, the non-rusting character of which is viewed as a metaphor for immortal functions and beliefs of the members. Perhaps the best known Ogboni symbol is the initiates or “edan” figures, a pair of naked male and female figures that are worn around the neck on a chain. The current piece is too large for this, and is most probably an Onile figure, which were displayed on altars in the meeting houses of the society. While males and females were shown, it refers to the duality of a female goddess (Ile) of the earth, who had harder and softer aspects to her personality.

This may have once been half of a pair - many Ogboni sculptures are male/female to reiterate ancient ancestry and harmony. The small scale of this piece indicates it was a personal or domestic rather than institutional object. It is an impressive piece of African art.

- (PF.5126 (LSO))

 

Home About Us Help Contact Us Services Publications Search
Terms and Conditions Privacy Policy Security

Copyright (c) 2000-2017 by Barakat, Inc. All Rights Reserved

contact-form@barakatgallery.com - TEL 310.859.8408 - FAX 310.276.1346

coldfusion hosting