Horseman (Jagunjagun)

Yoruba

Federal Republic of Nigeria

Horseman (Jagunjagun), n.d.

  • Not On View

Wood

Dimensions: 14 × 7 7/8 in. (35.6 × 20 cm)

Gift of Justice and Mrs. G. Mennen Williams, 1973.64

According to Yoruba tradition the origin of existence came from a supreme divinity called Olódùmarè, who is the source of àse, the existential power that sustains and transforms the universe. Over 200 deities personify àse and inhabit a natural or cultural phenomenon, such as lightning or war. Yoruba artists give prominence to the head because it is considered the point through which àse enters the body, acting as communication between the mortal world and the divine. The stylized execution of the figure shows the divinity of the being and its existence outside of visible reality. The flywhisk this figure holds in his right hand is symbolic of either a warrior deity or a diviner. The equestrian warrior motif is associated with physical and spiritual protection, while a diviner is thought to possess the clairvoyance to relate the past to the present and predict the future.

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