About this artwork
This veranda post is one of four that were sculpted for the palace at Ikere by the renowned early twentieth-century Yoruba artist Olowe of Ise. It is considered among the artist’s masterpieces for the way it embodies his unique style, including the interrelationship of figures, their exaggerated proportions, and the open space around them. The composition and iconography of the work also masterfully reflect Yoruba concepts of divine kingship. Although the king is the focal point of the sculpture, his portrayal suggests a ruler’s dependence on others. He sits with a lowered gaze and dangling legs and is weighed down by his beaded crown, the ultimate source of his authority. Such crowns are spiritually charged accessories that confer power to a ruler. The stately female figure behind the king represents his senior wife. Her large scale and pose, with hands on the king’s throne, underscore her importance; she had the critical role of placing the power-invested crown on the king’s head during his coronation. Moreover, the senior wife used political acumen and spiritual knowledge to protect the king’s interests during his reign. The small figures at the king’s feet represent a kneeling woman, the flute-playing trickster god Esu, and a fan bearer, now missing.
- Olowe of Ise , Yoruba (Culture)
- Veranda Post (Opo Ogoga)
- (Object made in), Nigeria (Object made in), Africa (Object made in)
- Wood and pigment
- 152.5 × 31.75 × 40.6 cm (60 × 12 1/2 × 16 in.)
- Major Acquisitions Centennial Fund