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Nigerian Offertory Bowl with Lid
Nigerian Offertory Bowl with Lid
Resource Typeimage
TitleNigerian Offertory Bowl with Lid
Coverage / YearNigeria; Late 19th century;
DescriptionA decorative bowl carved from a single piece of wood in the form of a kneeling woman holding a lidded bowl in the shape of a rooster. The woman has large breasts and is unclothed. Four rings suggesting neck rings are carved around her neck and three rings are carved at her hips. The arms and shoulders are carved to suggest a triangular tattoo decoration. The eyes are large, bulging half-circles, the lips are full, and three vertical scarification marks are carved into each cheek. Parallel carved lines on the head indicate an elaborate hairstyle. Geometric carvings on the bowl feathers.
InterpretationIn Yoruban society, special bowls were used to store valuables, for presenting gifts of food to important visitors, and as part of rituals. Various realistically carved figures were used. Kneeling suggests a relationship to a higher force and is a pose of respect, whether it is a subject kneeling before his king, a young bride before her husband, or a child for a parent. Here a woman offers a fowl, a traditional Yoruban motif and an animal typically sacrificed in Yoruban rituals; a kneeling mother with child is also common in Yoruban art. Images in African art rarely depict specific people, but instead are generic symbols of the lineage, progeny and clan forebears. This bowl may have been used to store kola nuts for ritual use. Kola nuts are the seed of a large tree. They were chewed at the beginning of important functions to heighten the participant's senses. Kola nut is an ingredient in the popular Coca-Cola beverage. Kola nuts are used as offerings to Ifa, the god of divination; one can pose problems or questions to Ifa and through a divination ceremony receive advice or a solution.
Lesson Plans / ThemesAfrican Folk Tales; African Novel Study; Communities and Geography;
Learning Standards16 History; 18 Social Systems; 25-27 Fine Arts;
Author or CreatorYoruba (African people) Social life and customs;
SourceDonated to the Lakeview Museum by Richard K. Meyer.
Subject / KeywordsNigeria; Africa; Bowls (Tableware); Containers; Yoruban culture
Collection PublisherLakeview Museum of Arts and Sciences
Further InformationFor any further information related to this record, please contact the Collection Publisher. See for more information about this project.
Rights Management Statement
Resource IdentifierLVM1978.013.001;
CONTENTdm file name46810201972002_offertorybowl.jpg
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