Arts of Africa
Figural posts such as this one stood in an àfin (“palace”) or shrine. They held up verandas, supported courtyard openings, or served as screens. Like Māori lintels, such posts were part of symbolic ornamental ensembles. Yorùbá sculptors carved images to support the rule of their royal patrons. Departing from everyday life, where clothing was required, the woman’s nudity reflects the sacredness of her kneeling pose. The equestrian warrior ( jangunjangun) she supports carries a knife and now-missing spear, emblems that embody his àṣẹ (life force). The carving style suggests it was made in Èkìtì State, though the origins of this post continue to be researched. Like the Turner Towers block, rain has eroded its surface. Especially since the 1940s, new trends in the forms and functions of àfins eliminated many courtyards and their posts.
late 19th or early 20th century
62 3/4 x 8 1/2 x 6 in. (159.4 x 21.6 x 15.2 cm) (show scale)
This item is not on view
Gift of Allen A. Davis
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Yorùbá artist. Figural post, late 19th or early 20th century. Wood, pigment, 62 3/4 x 8 1/2 x 6 in. (159.4 x 21.6 x 15.2 cm). Brooklyn Museum, Gift of Allen A. Davis, 82.154.2. Creative Commons-BY (Photo: , 82.154.1_82.154.2_SL1.jpg)
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Carved wood figurative house post painted red-brown, and composed of a horse and rider at the top. The bearded rider holds the handle of a flywhisk in his right hand. The whisk rests on his right shoulder. His coiffure is painted blue. He wears arm rings and bracelets, a tasseled baldric and is seated on a saddle with stirrups. The horse has a bridle. The equestrian figure rests on a small platform. Under him is a figure of a kneeling woman with hands supporting breasts. She wears ear plugs, bracelets, an amulet necklace, and girdle. Her coiffure is painted blue.
Condition: Good. Evidence of wear and erosion from age visible throughout. Rider's left forearm is missing.
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