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Yoruba (Yorba, Yorouba), Nigeria, Benin and Togo

Olumeye female figure. The Yoruba people, numbering over 12 million, are the largest nation in Africa with an art-producing tradition. Most of them live in southwestern Nigeria, with considerable communities further west in the Republic of Benin and in Togo, in an area of forest and savannah. They are divided into approximately twenty separate subgroups, which were traditionally autonomous kingdoms. Most of the Yoruba people are farmers. Even when they live in the city, they keep a hut close to the field in which they grow corn, cocoa, and yams. Yoruba art varies remarkably according to area and the individual carver, yet it maintains its distinctive character of proud humanism, expressed with great virtuosity in fully rounded forms. It is characteristic of Yoruba art that the figures face forward, whether standing, sitting, or kneeling, are balanced in terms of the principle of symmetry. They call this figure Olumeye that means “one who knows honor.”

Material: wood

Size: 20”x 6”x 6”