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HOME : African & Tribal Art : Yoruba Sculptures : Yoruba Wooden Odo Shango Shrine
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Yoruba Wooden Odo Shango Shrine - PF.4633
Origin: Southwestern Nigeria
Circa: 19 th Century AD to 20 th Century AD
Dimensions: 14.75" (37.5cm) high x 13.75" (34.9cm) wide
Collection: African
Style: Yoruba
Medium: Wood and Paint

Location: United States
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In African societies, the act of sculpting involves an element of magic and ritual. This happens when one thing is turned into something else through the intent of a skilled individual. An impressive object such as this Odo is a perfect example of a "metamorphosis" of inert matter turned into an object of power.

The Odo Shango is a type of shrine that holds a calabash containing the thunder stones of Shango. Orisha Shango is the deified king of ancient Oyo-Ile. His priests gather the thunder stones at houses struck by lightening, indicating the deity's judgment against the occupants. The finely sculpted head represents the priest who watches over the rituals for Shango. He is surrounded by two large rams whose horns form an arch over his beautifully coiffed head. The animals seem to float in the air, offering their protection to the man. On the other side is an abstract male, and next to him a fork-like object similar to a plow or some other agricultural tool. Traces of paint indicate the priest figure was covered with indigo dye. The remainder of the surface was painted with camwood and dotted with chalk and touches of blue. An object this intense is larger than life; almost on a grand scale, holding within its elegant form the essence of the Yoruba people.
- (PF.4633)


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