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House of the Head Shrine: Equestrian (Ile Ori)

Workshop of Adesina

Date:
19th–20th century
Geography:
Nigeria, Efon-Alaiye
Culture:
Yoruba peoples, Ekiti group
Medium:
Cloth, glass beads, cowrie shells, leather, mirrors
Dimensions:
H. 29 x W. 9 3/8 x D. 10 3/4 in. (73.7 x 23.8 x 27.3 cm)
Classification:
Textiles-Beadwork
Credit Line:
Gift of Dr. and Mrs. Jeffrey S. Hammer in memory of Mrs. Sophia Hammer, 1986
Accession Number:
1986.477.1
  • Description

    A "house of the head," ile ori, is designed to contain a person's inner spiritual essence and identity. In Yoruba thought, individual character is defined by the essential nature that is situated in one's inner head.

    This mixed-media sculpture is a symbol of leadership that embodies Yoruba notions of individuality. The shells attached to its base are signs of wealth and well-being, and the figures extending around the sides and the equestrian at its summit are symbols of prestige. Together these elements celebrate the prosperity and achievement of an especially distinguished individual. Personal monuments in soft sculpture of this kind were created by artists, such as members of the Adesina family, who also carved in wood.

  • Provenance

    Workshop of Adesina, Efon-Alaiye, Yorubaland; Dr. and Mrs. Jeffrey S. Hammer, Chicago, until 1986

314971

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