Pair of Bronze Yoruba Figures

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Directory: Archives: Regional Art: African: Pre 1900: Item # 579229
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This is a pair of Yoruba bronze figures; each one sitting on a separate bronze stool. They were created by the old lost wax casting method.

These bronze figures are 11.5" and 10.5" in height. They are also both about 3 ½ inches in width and 3 ½ inches in depth.

They date from the late 19th Century through the early 20th Century.

Their condition is excellent with a nice patina and a small area of verdigris.

The ancient Yoruba city of Owo, one of the largest on the Guinea coast, was established in the ninth century, and is located approximately midway between Ile-Ife and Benin City, the capital of the Benin kingdom. Although this was a highly vulnerable position, the Owo not only survived but managed to carve out and sustain a sizeable kingdom of their own in pre-colonial days. Owo flourished during the 15th and 16th centuries primarily because of its location along the well established trade route connecting the cities of Ife and Benin. These early trade routes significantly contributed in bringing the Benin and Ife art to the early Yoruba peoples, and Yoruba art, especially the metal work, was notably influenced by trade with both the Portuguese and the Benin and Ife Kingdoms during the 16th century. The Owo royal palace, extending over more than 108 ½ acres, was by far the largest palace in Yoruba land.

The Osugbo (Ogboni) are a society of male and female elders responsible for the selection, installation, and burial of kings, and who render judgment and stipulate punishment in cases of serious crimes in the society, including the removal of errant rulers. The powers and pacts between women and men are seen in paired images used among this society as the primary symbols of Osugbo are the paired male and female figures.