Yoruba Bronze Sculpture of a Seated Woman - PF.4886
Origin: Southwestern Nigeria
Circa: 18 th Century AD to 19 th Century AD
Dimensions: 10.625" (27.0cm) high x 5" (12.7cm) wide
Collection: African
Style: Yoruba
Medium: Bronze


The celebration of the female body and spirit is one of the most profound subjects in all art. This is particularly true when the artist's intent goes beyond aesthetic form, and encompasses cultural and religious meaning. This powerful figure is similar to an edan, a representation of a female ancestor used by the Osugbo society. She probably served the same purpose in emphasizing the nurturing role of women; thus the fact she holds her breasts, or rather appears to squeeze them to remind us they are full of milk. Her prominent sex organ promotes the idea of fertility, both in the sense of sexuality and procreation. The slight tilt of the head gives her a contemplative air, as if she is thinking about the healthy children she will one day have. The lovely necklace she wears is the same pattern as the triangular piece of "cloth" on her abdomen. Thick lines or ridges on her back, arms and stomach probably represent scarification. With her distinctive Yoruba features of large, bulging eyes and elongated face, she is a model of feminine beauty and an inspiration for mothers-to-be. - (PF.4886)



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