African art > Maternity > Yoruba Polychrome Maternity
Yoruba Polychrome Maternity (N° 11591)
This female tribal altar art sculpture features a well-preserved polychromy. She is depicted sitting in a seat on a circular base. Facilitating communication with the sacred, it reminds the deity of its duties to men. Through the child she holds on her lap, she symbolizes the protection of her people and fertility. Wearing a high crest, she also wears the three deep keloids of the Yoruba nobles on each of the cheeks. The globular eyes, fleshy lips, are also distinctive markers of Yoruba tribal statuary. Her attire, necklace and bracelets, reflect her social rank.
Sensitable, a matte, grainy patina covers the wood, which is desiccized due to cracking.
The Yoruba engaged in the slave trade with the Europeans and in particular the Portuguese before being completely subsermissed to the English following a long period of infighting between the various kings or oba in place. The main Yoruba cults are the cults Gélus, Epa, Ogboni, and the cult Esu, through which a very wide variety of deities are involved.