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HOME : African & Tribal Art : Yoruba Sculptures : Yoruba Wooden Sculpture of a Standing Woman
Yoruba Wooden Sculpture of a Standing Woman - PF.3523
Origin: Southwestern Nigeria
Circa: 20 th Century AD
Dimensions: 11" (27.9cm) high x 5" (12.7cm) wide
Collection: African
Medium: Wood

Location: Great Britain
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The Yoruba are the largest ethnic group in Africa and are the most prolific of its art-producing people. Their art reflects complex systems of religion, social organization, and government, all of which are implemented by special voluntary associations. Moreover, Yoruba culture has a rich spiritual philosophy that has its ancient roots in Nigeria. Such spiritual ideas are often conveyed in Yoruba arts, giving us clues to the ancient thoughts.

This wonderful female figure embodies one of the most important concepts in the Yoruba society--fertility. Standing on a round base, the figure wears a conical headdress that hangs down to her back. Her face is round and amicable; her large almond-shaped eyes and gentle mouth create an amicable facial expression, even a serene smile. Her large breasts, buttocks and thighs attribute not only maternal quality but also fertility and life. In Yoruba culture, maternity figures symbolizing fertility and continuity are placed on altars or shrines to petition the ancestors for children, or as thanks for having been granted a child. As if pronouncing her power to give birth to a life, this female figure has her hands on her thighs. Her feminine beauty seems to reflect the eternal beauty of life that she can magically produce.
- (PF.3523)


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