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Kneeling Female Figure

Yorùbá, Areogun of Osi

Arts of Africa

Attributing a specific piece of ritual African art to a particular artist is seldom possible, in part because the artists often perpetuated the myth that the objects were not the work of human beings, and also because the original collectors of these pieces rarely inquired about the artists' names. This piece, however, has been attributed to Areogun of Osi, one of the most prominent Yoruba artists of the twentieth century. His distinctive style is identifiable in the figure's elaborate openwork headdress, proportionally large ears, and curved breasts.

Kneeling female figures, often nude, are common in Yoruba religious art. In this pose, the figure represents a supplicant before the orisha, or deity, on whose altar it is placed. The image beautifies the altar and thereby honors orisha.

DATES late 19th or early 20th century
DIMENSIONS 8 1/2 x 2 x 2 1/2 in. (21.6 x 5.1 x 6.4 cm)  (show scale)
COLLECTIONS Arts of Africa
CREDIT LINE Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Joseph Gerofsky in honor of Ruth Lippman
CATALOGUE DESCRIPTION Kneeling female figure on small rectangular base. Figure wears prominent neck collar, series of bracelets covering forearms, earrings, and double strand of beads around waist. Elaborate oval coiffure with raised saggittal ridge. Exaggerated delineation of facial features--especially large "C" shaped ears. Series of three incised vertical scarification marks on each cheek. Breasts extend forward and curve outward, form echoed on smaller scale by raised naval. Hands and feet square in shape. Polished surface. Color: brown. CONDITION: Good.
MUSEUM LOCATION This item is not on view
CAPTION Yorùbá. Kneeling Female Figure, late 19th or early 20th century. Wood, 8 1/2 x 2 x 2 1/2 in. (21.6 x 5.1 x 6.4 cm). Brooklyn Museum, Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Joseph Gerofsky in honor of Ruth Lippman, 1992.70. Creative Commons-BY (Photo: Brooklyn Museum, 1992.70_threequarter_PS2.jpg)
IMAGE threequarter, 1992.70_threequarter_PS2.jpg. Brooklyn Museum photograph, 2007
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