African art > Bronze rider, wooden rider, dogon, yoruba > Yoruba rider
Figure of a Yoruba rider (N° 21833)
Dedicated to enthroning on a Yoruba altar, this statuette here embodies a deified ancestor, one of the many gods, orisa , comparable to the Christian saints, who make up the Yoruba pantheon, or even the divine messenger Esù or Elégba . The equine, rare in the region, was an attribute of prestige which was reserved for the nobility and sovereigns.
This type of sculpture presents recurring elements such as a frame of different proportions from those of the rider. The horse perched on a pedestal has indeed a reduced size. The character with the typical Yoruba facies has triple claw incisions on the face and has an ax. Crusty polychrome patina. Abrasions and desiccation cracks.
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The Yoruba, over 20 million, occupy southwestern Nigeria and the central and southeastern region of Benin under the name of Nago. They are patrilineal, practice excision and circumcision.
Centered on its multiple gods or orisa , the Yoruba religion is illustrated by its altars on which sacrifices are made. The arts and coded messages, àroko , are thus used to worship these gods believed to have taken human form.
Ref. : " Yoruba " B. Lawal.
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