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HOME : African & Tribal Art : Miscellaneous : Yoruba Altar Sculpture in the Form of a Woman
Yoruba Altar Sculpture in the Form of a Woman - PF.5105
Origin: Southwestern Nigeria
Circa: 19 th Century AD to 20 th Century AD
Dimensions: 15.25" (38.7cm) high x 10" (25.4cm) wide
Collection: African
Medium: Mixed Media

Location: United States
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The elemental, primordial quality of this sculpture suggests an artistic connection with ancient Ife. Such figures intended for placement on altars acted as “intermediaries” between deities and humans; seen to embody the "spirit" of the god being venerated. Very large feet serve as a base upon which the torso rests without legs. Small arms form a loop-shape attached to the sides. The figure's large head counterbalances the enormous feet, creating the impression the entire sculpture is in proportion. Clearly defined female sex organs indicate a fertility function, perhaps associated with a priest/shaman possessing powers related to fecundity. The heavily encrusted patina graphically demonstrates the reverence shown for the sculpture, as decades of worshipers presented their sacrificial offerings in hopes of communicating with the unknowable gods. - (PF.5105)


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