Shrine couple, kneeling female figure with bowl
- Yoruba peoples
- 18th–19th century
Commissioned by thankful petitioners, this figure and its pair were once placed on an altar dedicated to Shango, the Yoruba thunder god (see also [1994.199.2.McD]). His wrath and power are manifested in thunder and lightning, which he uses to punish those who do not honor him. He favors those who do with fertility, prosperity, good health, and long life.
Shango is not portrayed as a man but is symbolized by the carved triangular forms on the male figure's cap, which represent thunderstones Shango hurls from the sky. Both figures are posed kneeling out of respect and courtesy to Shango and his worshippers.
Roslyn A. Walker, Label text, Arts of Africa, 2015.