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HOME : African & Tribal Art : Yoruba Terracotta Vessels : Yoruba Terracotta Altarpiece
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Yoruba Terracotta Altarpiece - PF.4943
Origin: Southwest Nigeria
Circa: 19 th Century AD to 20 th Century AD
Dimensions: 10.75" (27.3cm) high x 6" (15.2cm) wide
Collection: African
Medium: Terracotta

Location: United States
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It is difficult to imagine a more charming evocation of maternity than this delightful sculpture. The central figure is a woman holding a bowl on her head with both arms extended. Her children cling tightly on to her, touching her breast and abdomen as if to indicate where they nurse and where they came from. The woman appears to be pregnant, and another child rides on her back. All four figures look upwards with enraptured expressions, as if seeing the miraculous appearance of a deity. This sculpture may have been intended to be placed on a shrine to honor a deity related to fertility. The bowl probably held small kola nuts as an offering. A singular feature of this family group is their intense solidarity, and the feeling they are very close and happy being together-- an ideal model for all families. - (PF.4943)


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