DescriptionYoruba, Igbomina subgroup (Nigeria, Western Africa)
Large kneeling female figure supporting bowl
Wood and pigment
Height: 26 inches
Bowls and pedestals with figurative supports are prominent components of cult altars, where they serve as containers or display platforms for ritual items. This bowl, with a damage hole at bowl bottom, probably once had a cover, now lost. This piece belonged in a shrine dedicated to Sango, an important deity involved with all aspects of life. The prevalence of female images as bowl and pedestal supports, on stools and other cult paraphernalia alludes to fertility and the soothing presence of women.
Overall the surface of this carving is covered with a thin layer, probably the result of applications of sacrificial liquids; an exception is the face, which was probably cleaned. There is a crack though the proper right base and extending slightly into the woman's leg. This massive sculpture, carved of hard, heavy wood, is a classic example of Yoruba carving with powerful display presence.
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