Figurated Shrine Post from the Agbeni Shango Shrine

16758717-1994_004_342_Cpa_ARC.tif

Artist

Agesingbenon, Nigerian, Nigerian

Title

Figurated Shrine Post from the Agbeni Shango Shrine

Keywords

Architectural element, effigy, sculpture

Date

1910-1937

Context

West Africa, Nigeria, Ibadan
Yoruba

Medium/Dimensions

Wood, pigment
60 1/2 x 6 1/2 in. (153.7 x 16.5 cm)

Object Number

1994.004.342

Description

This post, along with 15 other similarly carved posts, once formed a screen and roof support in front of the Agbeni Shango Shrine in Ibadan, Nigeria. The purpose of this screen, besides literally holding up the roof of the building, was to signal the sacred nature of the space within and the identity of the orisha or god residing there. This particular post, likely commissioned by the Irugberi clan as a gift to the shrine, depicts devotees and protectors of the shrine: a female figure surmounted by a male figure holding a gun and spear. The instruments of war held by the male figure relate to Shango, putative king of the Oyo kingdom deified as the Yoruba orisha of thunder.

Photographs of the shrine taken since 1910, when it was first documented by the famous German collector and scholar Leo Frobenius, reveal that each year the carvings were washed and repainted by women in preparation for the annual Shango festival. The deep lustrous patina achieved from repeated washes of indigo offsets the more ephemeral but striking spotted decorations of the post, which first appear in photographs taken in 1961. The white spots may signal a plea to Shango for protection from smallpox.

Credit Line

Ex coll. William S. Arnett

Exhibits/Publications

MCCM Permanent Collection Reinstallation, 2008 - December 1, 2014

Rights

© Michael C. Carlos, Emory University. Photo by Bruce M. White 2010.
This image is provided by the Michael C. Carlos Museum of Emory University, who retains all rights in it. This image is made available for limited non-commercial, educational, and personal use only, or for fair use as defined by United States law. For all other uses, please contact the Michael C. Carlos Museum Office of Collections Services at +1(404) 727-4282 or mccm.collections.services@emory.edu. Users must cite the author and source of the image as they would material from any printed work, but not in any way that implies endorsement of the user or the user's use of the image. Users may not remove any copyright, trademark, or other proprietary notices, including without limitation attribution information, credits, and copyright notices that have been placed on or near the image by the Museum. The Museum assumes no responsibility for royalties or fees claimed by the artist or third parties. The User agrees to indemnify and hold harmless Emory University, its Michael C. Carlos Museum, its agents, employees, faculty members, students and trustees from and against any and all claims, losses, actions, damages, expenses, and all other liabilities, including but not limited to attorney’s fees, directly or indirectly arising out of or resulting from its use of photographic images for which permission is granted hereunder.

On View

No

Citation

Agesingbenon, Nigerian, Nigerian, “Figurated Shrine Post from the Agbeni Shango Shrine,” Michael C. Carlos Museum Collections Online, accessed January 18, 2018, http://carlos.digitalscholarship.emory.edu/items/show/7145.

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