Yoruba Lead Onile Sculpture of a Man - PF.4760
Origin: Southwestern Nigeria
Circa: 18 th Century AD to 19 th Century AD
Dimensions: 4.25" (10.8cm) high x 1.875" (4.8cm) wide
Collection: African
Style: Yoruba
Medium: Lead


Onile, or "Owner of the House", are free-standing figures usually found in pairs. They are cast at the founding of a settlement and establishment of an Osugbo Lodge, and will serve an entire Lodge. They symbolize the original progenitors, the male and female members of the Osugbo, and by extension the entire community. This very charming Onile is representational of the distinctive style used for such figures, with its bulging eyes, elongated face, broad shoulders and thin arms. A unique feature is the clever way the legs appear folded, giving the impression he is very comfortable. The seated pose and "devotional" locking of hands at the abdomen may be associated with oath-taking, or paying of homage. Oniles have their sex organs clearly visible, as in this case the male's genitals are discreet but apparent. This small figure is very large in meaning, and represents the values and mores that have long been associated with the Yoruba people. - (PF.4760)



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