Fine West African Yoruba Seated Maternity Shrine Figure

A Fine West African Yoruba Seated Maternity Shrine Figure with a Baby Suckling at her Breast Wearing a Blue and Red Bead Necklace Her Face with Linear Scarification Wearing a High Crested and Incised Coiffure the Eyes with Holes for Metal Pins
Fine old dry silky light brown patina
White inventory no. 22, painted to base
Late 19th – Early 20th Century
Size: 42cm high, 14cm wide, 14.5cm deep – 16½ ins high, 5½ ins wide, 5¾ ins deep
The Yoruba live predominantly in south-western Nigeria and have for centuries been the most prolific art producing people of Black Africa. The culture of Yoruba, with its complex religious, political and social systems inherited from ancient City-states, evoked the creation of a rich variety of royal and religious sculpture. The Yoruba developed a unique style through which to interpret the rituals and precepts, the passions and beliefs of their lives. However, it is the actual community and family in the here and now that forms the pivot of Yoruba life. There exists no desire to work toward a better life in the hereafter. Whilst they do hope to join their ancestors when they die, these ancestors are conceived as living a formless existence that is nevertheless focused on the surviving family members in which they hope to be reborn. The ancestors do return to the community, but not through personal reincarnation. Their life force reverts to the community in the form of one or more children of either sex.
To the Yoruba the prime manifestation of the life force is fertility and women are the stronger sex as the life force manifests itself directly in them in the form of menstruation and childbirth. This shrine figure may have functioned as a water deity, being placed into a large dish during ceremonies in honour of the river goddess ‘Yemoja’ and carried around by a priestess in a trance. Yemoja is revered as a deity for bestowing the gift of children on people.

Fine West African Yoruba Seated Maternity Shrine Figure

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ENQUIRIES

+44 (0) 207 689 7500

+44 (0)7836 684133
+44 (0)7768 236921

enquiries@finch-and-co.co.uk