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HOME : African & Tribal Art : Yoruba Terracotta Vessels : Yoruba Terracotta Altarpiece
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Yoruba Terracotta Altarpiece - PF.4941
Origin: Southwestern Nigeria
Circa: 19 th Century AD to 20 th Century AD
Dimensions: 10.25" (26.0cm) high x 7" (17.8cm) wide
Collection: African
Medium: Terracotta

Location: United States
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Few works of art could more expressive of family life and maternal bliss than this sculpture. It radiates the joy of a mother for her children, and the pleasure children have in the comfort of their mother. A male and female child are on either side of the central female figure who is pregnant. Her young daughter delicately places a hand on her stomach, perhaps to feel the baby kicking. A naked child clings to the mother's back, while she holds a small bowl (as an offering), on her head. All four figures have a thick braided band wrapped around their waists and shoulders. This is similar to other works of the same nature and may be a particular "device" of the sculptor. Yoruba maternity images portray one of the many roles women play in society. Women as mothers are referred to as "gold" for their nurturing ability. In this sculptural group all the figures are looking upwards as if seeing a vision, perhaps praying for a healthy new addition to the family. - (PF.4941)


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