African art > African statues : tribal fetish, maternity > Yoruba altar
Yoruba altar (N° 22938)
It is in a carved sculpture intended to appear on a Yoruba altar that a deified ancestor, or one of the multiple gods, orisa, is embodied here, comparable to Christian saints. The latter animate the Yoruba pantheon, either the divine messenger Esù or Elégba. The equine, rare in the region, constituted a prestigious attribute which was reserved for the nobility and the sovereigns. The miniature figures would embody followers, provided with symbolic objects.
Crusty matte patina, desiccation cracks, losses.
The Yoruba, more than 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 famous for its altars on which sacrifices are performed. 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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