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Creator Name: Olowe of Ise
Creator Role: Artist
Creator Name-CRT: Olowe of Ise (Nigeria, Ekiti region, ca. 1873-1938)
Title: Caryatid Post: Equestrian
View: Full View
Creation Start Date: 1936
Creation End Date: 1938
Creation Date: Before 1938
Object Type: Sculpture
Classification Term: Wood-Sculpture/Furniture
Materials and Techniques: Wood, pigment
Dimensions: H. 71 in. (180.3 cm)
AMICA Contributor: The Metropolitan Museum of Art
Owner Location: New York, New York, USA
ID Number: 1996.558
Credit Line: Purchase, Lila Acheson Wallace Gift, 1996
During the first quarter of the twentieth century, northeastern Yorubaland experienced a social and cultural renaissance. The town of Efon-Alaiye became a great artistic center, following a succession of invasions that had devastated the region. Local leaders who were engaged in the area's resettlement established their authority by commissioning lavish palaces adorned with impressive architectural sculpture. A distinctive feature of Yoruba architectural design is a veranda enclosing an empluvium courtyard lined with figurative posts. The setting in which the king conducted important matters of state, these verandas displayed a program of allegorical representations that underscored the wealth and power of the kingdoms they glorified.
It was in this context that Ekiti carvers gave form to a new vision of Yoruba culture-a combination of two powerful icons. Local leaders adopted the image of the northern equestrian invaders of the last century and transformed it into an emblem of local power. In Yoruba culture women are honored as the source of human life, and representations of the female figure embody ideals of spiritual, political, and economic power. The composite image is a classic subject whose formal interrelationship is interpreted distinctively in works by Olowe and other Yoruba master sculptors.
AMICA ID: MMA_.1996.558
AMICA Library Year: 2000
Media Metadata Rights:
Copyright The Metropolitan Museum of Art
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