Sango Shrine Figure: Mother and Child

Yoruba peoples

Not on view

While Yoruba cosmology recognizes a divine creator removed from the affairs of mankind, ritual life addresses a more accessible pantheon of gods, the orisa. One such orisa is Sango, a deified former king of Oyo. During his lifetime Sango was a ruthless and ambitious leader who was fascinated by magical powers, such as lightening, that he was unable to control. He is commemorated as a forceful and charismatic figure whose abuse of power had tragic consequences.

Special shrines constitute the site for interaction between individual orisa and their followers. Figural sculptures displayed within them are not intended as mere aesthetic complements but rather to enhance a worshipper's state of concentration. These works at once depict idealized followers of the orisa and induce in the actual devotees a state of receptiveness necessary for them to become physical vehicles for the orisa's presence.

Sango Shrine Figure: Mother and Child, Wood, pigment, Yoruba peoples

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