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Minneapolis Institute of Arts



Institution Minneapolis Institute of Arts
Agbonbiofe was a master carver, and is one of the best known artists of the Ekiti region of Yorubaland, located in Nigeria. Commissioned by the Oba, or ruler of that region, Agbonbiofe created numerous works of art for the palace and court life. By comparing works known to be by Agbonbiofe with this piece, we know that it is likely the work of this important artist. The sculpture signifies the distribution of power in Yoruba society, a common theme embraced by carvers of the Ekiti region. The mounted warrior is an Oba, marked by his conical crown adorned with the faces of former rulers. The authority of the Oba over his people is manifested in this crown. By contrast, the woman's power is less overt. Kneeling, she both supports the Oba and reminds the viewer of her ability to bear children, essential to the continuation of Yoruba society. These figures represent ancestors engaged in a symbolic relationship rather than specific individuals.
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Type: Commentary, Gallery Label - Current
Source: Minneapolis Institute of Arts
Rights: Copyright Minneapolis Institute of Arts
Added to Site: November 21, 2009