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Enquiry from Online Galleries regarding "Fine West African Yoruba Seated Maternity Shrine Figure"
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Look at what I found on the Online Galleries website!
Fine old dry silky light brown patina
White inventory no. 22, painted to base
Late 19th – Early 20th Century
Size: 42cm high, 14cm wide, 14.5cm deep – 16½ ins high, 5½ ins wide, 5¾ ins deep
Thence by descent
note: It was in the Berkeley Galleries that Josef Herman bought his first African wood carving of a Mende ‘Venus’ from Ernest’s father William Ohly
To the Yoruba the prime manifestation of the life force is fertility and women are the stronger sex as the life force manifests itself directly in them in the form of menstruation and childbirth. This shrine figure may have functioned as a water deity, being placed into a large dish during ceremonies in honour of the river goddess ‘Yemoja’ and carried around by a priestess in a trance. Yemoja is revered as a deity for bestowing the gift of children on people.