Lot 70
  • 70

Yoruba Kneeling Female Bowl-Bearing Figure, Nigeria

60,000 - 90,000 USD
173,000 USD
bidding is closed


  • wood, glass beads


Mareidi and Gerd Stoll, Munich, acquired in the mid-1960s
Peter Wengraf, London, acquired from the above in June 1974
Norman Marshall, London, acquired from the above in 1974 or 1975
Christie's, London, July 3, 1990, lot 43
Myron Kunin, Minneapolis, acquired at the above auction


Mereidi & Gert Stoll, Yoruba-Plastiken - aus Privatsammlung Stoll, Bad Aibling, 1971, p. 12
Karl-Ferdinand Schaedler, African Art in Private German Collections, Munich, 1973, p. 186, fig. 244

Catalogue Note

According to Pemberton (1982: 134) the Yoruba called figures depicting a kneeling female figure holding an offering bowl "Olumeye, 'one who knows honor,' and [as] told to Kevin Carroll [...] they depicted a woman who 'is a messenger of spirits; she carries cola or cakes in a bowl' (Carrol 1967: 32).  In the palace of the Orangun of Ila, similar bowls are used to hold the packets of kola nuts, obi, which the king gives to his guests as an expression of hospitatily."

He continues (ibid.): "The hairstyle, known as irun agogo, indicates that she is a recent bride or, as a priestess, that she is married to an orisha, a deity in the Yoruba pantheon. [...]  She is the very image of beauty.  In the embellishment of her youthful body and the stylization of her hair, the figure achieves an external, physical beauty; and in the posture of offering and the self-contained composure of her face, she manifests an inner beauty.  She is truly 'a messenger of the spirits', a bearer of gifts."