Art/ Collection/ Art Object
{{img.publicCaption}}

Veranda Post: Equestrian Figure and Female Caryatid

Artist:
Olowe of Ise (Nigerian, born Ise, about 1873–1938)
Date:
before 1938
Geography:
Nigeria, Yorubaland, Efon-Alaiye region
Culture:
Yoruba peoples, Ekiti group
Medium:
Wood, pigment
Dimensions:
H. 71 x W. 11 1/4 x D. 14 in. (180.3 x 28.6 x 35.6 cm)
Classification:
Wood-Architectural
Credit Line:
Purchase, Lila Acheson Wallace Gift, 1996
Accession Number:
1996.558
On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 352
This monumental work was one of a series of carved architectural supports designed for the exterior courtyard of a Yoruba palace. It was commissioned by a king from the most renowned master sculptor in the history of Yoruba art, Olowe of Ise.

The two-tiered composition embodies a formal dynamism that established Olowe's exceptional artistic reputation. Its principal personage, an equestrian warior, is depicted frontally above a female caryatid with arms raised in three-quarter view. Through this contrast in their alignment, the figures at once reflect distinct attitudes while relating to each other fluidly. The compressed style of the upper half also contrasts with the greater degree of openness below. At the base two smaller figures radiate outward at oblique angles.

In addition to the inventive dynamism of their overall design, works by Olowe are noted for the attention given to surface detail. The mounted warrior holds a spear and pistol in either hand, and his vest, saddle, and horse's headgear are articulated through deeply carved linear motifs. While innovative in its formal interpretation, the subject of this work is a classic emblem of regional leadership. In Yoruba art such equestrian figures identify their patrons with martial conquest achieved through physical might.
[Merton D. Simpson, New York]; private collection, Connecticut, ca. 1967–1996; (Sotheby's, New York, November 21, 1996, no. 110)

Related Objects

Veranda Post: Equestrian Figure and Female Caryatid

Artist: Olowe of Ise (Nigerian, born Ise, about 1873–1938) Date: before 1938 Medium: Wood, pigment Accession: 1996.558 On view in:Gallery 352

Lidded Vessel

Date: 17th–18th century Medium: Ivory, wood or coconut shell inlay Accession: 1991.17.126a, b On view in:Gallery 352

Bracelet

Date: 18th century (?) Medium: Brass Accession: 1991.17.139 On view in:Gallery 352

Masquerade Element: Crocodile Head (Omama)

Date: 17th–19th century Medium: Ivory, wood or coconut shell inlay Accession: 1991.17.125 On view in:Gallery 352

Bracelet

Date: 18th century (?) Medium: Brass Accession: 1991.17.130 On view in:Gallery 352