African art > Statues > Yoruba Maternity
Yoruba Altar Figure (N° 14884)
This figure of motherhood, symbolizing a mother of twins and the embodiment of an orisa, mother of the living, personifies the goddess of the Earth, guarantor of the abundance of resources, fertility and prosperous health. A ritual statue to be placed on an altar, it was revered by members of the powerful Ogboni Society, or Osugbo, in charge of justice. Different twin figures, in an amazing variety of postures, surround the main breastfeeding subject. The latter features a back covered with geometric patterns referring to traditional scarifications and tattoos, and a braided hairstyle in which complementary miniatures are placed.
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Granuous polychrome patina.
Yoruba live in Nigeria, Benin and Togo. The kingdoms of Oyo and Ijebu were born in the 15th century following the demise of the Ifé and are still the basis of the yoruba political structure. The Oyo created two cults centered on the societies Egungun and Sango, who venerate their gods, the Orisa , through ceremonies using masks, statuettes, sceptres and divination supports. The slave trade helped spread Yoruba beliefs across continents. Focused on the veneration of its gods, or orisà, the religion yoruba relies on artistic sculptures with coded messages (aroko). They are designed by sculptors at the request of followers, soothsayers and their customers. These spirits are supposed to intercede with the supreme god Olodumare.
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