Yoruba Wooden Polychrome Sculpture

SKU PF.5353

20th Century AD


21.5″ (54.6cm) high x 8.75″ (22.2cm) wide




Southwestern Nigeria

Gallery Location



The complex figural group is positioned on a circular base decorated with black and white triangles. A large male wearing a black tarboosh rides a horse or mule while holding onto the arms of a small man who is seated on the neck of the animal. All of the attendant figures support a part of the central male’s body – the two on the sides are used as arm rests, and the figure seated on the end of the curved saddle is joined at the head by the tassel of the tarboosh. A very large sword is positioned under the arm of the horseman. One of the smaller figures carries a spirit, and two others grasp tightly onto a ling staff with a bifurcated end upon which they rest their chins. The rider is most likely a king or warrior surrounded by his servants. Within a confined special area, a myriad of symbols related to social status, kingship and power intertwine together to beautifully represent the reality of a hierarchical system.

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