Human

By Carla Herling
Drake University (formerly University of Iowa)

Nigeria; Yoruba peoples

House post

Wood, pigment

H. 118.11 cm (46 1/2")

University of Iowa Stanley Museum of Art, The Stanley Collection, X1986.268

Yoruba women who have difficulty conceiving a child can solve the problem by offering their respect at the shrine of the God Shango, the spirit who punishes with lightning and who is responsible for the birth of twins.  Shrines to Shango can be found in most Yoruba communities, and consist of an inner sanctuary approached through an open porch whose roof is supported by carved wooden posts.  The post represents a drummer who is a priest of Shango, above, and a mounted horseman, a symbol of power and aggressiveness, below.  This post was once in a great Shango shrine in the city of Ibadan, in southwestern Nigeria.