By Victoria Rovine
University of Florida (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 artists carve opo (figurative posts) to support the verandas of distinguished structures such as shrines or the dwellings of kings, titled elders, and priests. Just as the post supports the roof, the carved figures may serve as a visual metaphor for the individuals who support and uphold the leader in his office. This house post depicts an equestrian figure, his importance emphasized by his large size relative to the size of his mount. Atop this mounted figure are two drummers whose presence further enhances the status of the warrior. In many parts of Africa, rulers and other people of high status employ musicians to sing their praises and to inspire them. This figure's large spear marks him as a warrior, an important and highly respected profession.