220719 - Old African Yoruba statue - Nigeria.
Old tribal used African statue from the Yoruba, Nigeria.
Hand carved from a single piece of wood.
Size: 30 cm high.
This Yoruba statue was collected between 1950 and 1960 and ended up in my private collection in 1999.
The Yoruba people, numbering over 12 million, are the largest nation in Africa with an art-producing tradition. Most of them live in southwest Nigeria, with considerable communities further west in the Republic of Benin and in Togo. They are divided into approximately twenty separate subgroups, which were traditionally autonomous kingdoms. Excavation at Ife of life-sized bronze and terracotta heads and full-length figures of royalty and their attendants have startled the world, surpassing in their portrait-like naturalism everything previously known from Africa. The cultural and artistic roots of the Ife masters of the Classical Period (ca. 1050—1500) lie in the more ancient cultural center of Nok to the northeast, though the precise nature of this link remains obscure.
Now two-third of the Yoruba are farmers. Even if they live in the city, they keep a hut close to the fields; they grow corn, beans, cassava, yams, peanuts, coffee, and bananas. It is they who control the markets -- along with the merchants and artisans: blacksmiths, copper workers, embroiderers, and wood sculptors, trades handed down from generation to generation.