Tribal art > African Jar > Yoruba Cup
Yoruba monumental cup with offerings (N° 19778)
Monumental sculpture of African art from the Yoruba region.
Lidded vessels, adorned with a variety of subjects, are superimposed above figures of caryatids framing a central, seated figure. The human figures, evocations of fertility, ancestors, and orisa spirits, were carved in the round while bas-relief motifs adorn the walls of the central rectangular bowl. The various scenes refer to Yoruba mythology. Faded polychromy, matt patina, minimal cracks and abrasions.
Centered on the veneration of its gods, or orisà, Yoruba religion relies on artistic sculptures with coded messages ( aroko ). These spirits are believed to intercede with the supreme god Olodumare .
The cups are intended for votive offerings, gifts for visitors, or for divination. Sculptures of this type decorated palaces in Yoruba country.
Linear scarification marks on the faces of the figures were intended not only to enhance their physical beauty, but also to identify the rank or origin of the wearer. The body marks could be permanent or temporary, such as tattoos made from insect or plant juices, especially for court dignitaries or the king himself.
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