Shrine Piece, or Ancestor Figure
Urhobo, Nigeria, early 20th century
Provenance: Private NYC Collection

The Urhobo honor both their ancestors and nature spirits with wooden figures like this piece. Made of a hard wood, these figures represent solid and powerful leadership, a moral compass so to speak. This example holds a long staff like object in its left hand and a small gourd shaped object in his right, possibly a medicine gourd, symbolizing his possession of powerful substances. Although the figure is seated, the broadness of his stance, his thick square shoulders, and the rigidity of his body displays a sense of power and stability in manner. The figure wears a hat with reptilian like detail, tracing down the back of his head. Geometric ornamentation is visible on the stool the figure sits upon. The figure has suffered some natural wood erosion, but remains stable. Original white pigment is visible across the entire body of the figure.

Height: 18 1/2 in
IN 11-8-14/ SOLD