Nigeria, Owo, Yoruba people
Horse and Rider (Jagunjagun Eleshin), probably
17th-18th century, wood.
Purchased with funds from the Alice Speed Stoll Accessions
A mounted warrior dressed in body armor and a large
helmet sits straight up on his horse with his javelin
poised to attack. The lines on his face exaggerate a
terrible gaze that is intended to strike fear into the
hearts of his foes. Based on this decoration we can
determine that the invader is from the northern kingdom
of Oyo in Yorubaland and is part of the force that invaded
the southern Owo region in the seventeenth and eighteenth
This piece was likely commissioned as an altarpiece
dedicated to Ifa, the god of divination. The unknown
sculptor uses intricate carving and zigzag patterns
to create detail and character in the clothing, armor
and tack on the horse and rider. The sculptural style
indicates that it was created in the southern Owo region.
Clearly the invaders from the north made a deep impression
on the artist and the people who created this piece.