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Yoruba Female Figure Shango Shrine Nigeria African Art

Product #: 100570
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Title Yoruba Female Figure Shango Shrine Nigeria Africa
Type of Object Carving, Figure, Statue, Sculpture
Country of Origin Nigeria
People Yoruba
Materials Wood, Pigment
Approximate Age 20th Century
Dimensions 25 inches H. x 6.5 inches W.
Overall Condition Good.  Most of our pieces have spent decades on at least two continents, and have been treasured by several owners.   Small splits, scrapes and cracks are a normal part of their patina attesting to their age and extensive use.  We examine each piece carefully when we receive it and report any damage we find in our listings.  Please look carefully at the pictures which may also reveal condition and damage.
Damage/Repair some cracks in base, scuffed and worn patina; see pictures for details.

Additional Information: This standing female figure presenting her breasts is dedicated to Shango deity among the Yoruba people of Nigeria. The shape of the double-headed ax surmounting the head of the figure represents these so-called ‘thunder’ stones.

The cult of Shango, three centuries old, worships Shango who was once a human King, but became an orisha, a God. The devotees who are carved are female, but the orisha is male, and is associated with thunder and lightening. A person may inherit the worship of Shango from parents, or be "called" individually. Such figures were used as shrine pieces or  dance wands carried at the annual festival by devotees of the Shango, the Yoruba thunder god. They portray the potential of power of the thunder god Shango.

Among the Yoruba people of Nigeria an intricate combination of myth and religion explains history, categorizes natural phenomenon and describes various deities known as “orishas” who form a complex religion with many different faces and an equally complex set of images.  Shango is also known as the “Thunder God” who caused lightening to flash and was responsible for the many early stone tools (era edun) found in the region that people believed fell to the earth when Shango cast lightening bolts downwards to earth.  

Recommended  Readings:

R. F. Thompson: Black Gods and Kings: Yoruba Art at UCLA, (Los Angeles, 1971)

Drewal, H.J., J. Pemberton, R. Abiodun, “Yoruba; Nine Centuries of African Art and Thought”.  1989.

Daniel Mato and Chelsea Cooksey, YORUBA: ART OF LIFE. The Bennett-Luther Collection