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HOME : African & Tribal Art : Yoruba Terracotta Vessels : Yoruba Terracotta Altarpiece
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Yoruba Terracotta Altarpiece - PF.4945
Origin: Southwestern Nigeria
Circa: 19 th Century AD to 20 th Century AD
Dimensions: 10.125" (25.7cm) high x 7" (17.8cm) wide
Collection: African
Medium: Terracotta

Location: United States
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Figurated terracotta objects are often associated with the god Eyinle who is a deity of hunting, rivers and healing leaves. The woman holding a bowl on her head, used to hold kola nut offerings, may be a devotee of the deity. Equestrian figures are also connected with Eyinle, and evoke the impact of warfare in the formation of Yoruba kingdoms and empires from the sixteenth to the nineteenth centuries. The horse of this particular rider has an unusually elaborate tail. The woman also appears to be a mother with her two daughters on either side, and a boy in the middle. They cling to the sides of the vessel as if it were twirling in space; while one of the girls appears to be pregnant, or with a distended stomach or belly button. What we are seeing here may be a family group, each member involved in a ritual context of offering their blessings to a god such as Eyinle or Sango. Though simply formed the entire unit emits a powerful presence; an elemental sense of earth, of family, of gods and of life. - (PF.4945)


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