Nigeria, the inverted ritual mortar with classical and powerful face specific to the carver. Exceptional variagated brown patina. diameter 17 1/4in
Provenance: Josef Muller Nick Maggos Michael Wyman Wally and Brenda Zollman
Exhibited: Governors State University, IL;, 2003; Krannert Art Museum, IL, 2003; Belger Art Foundation/University of Missouri-Kansas City, MO, 2004; Tall Grass Art Association, IL, 2005.
Published: Olowe of Ise: A Yoruba sculptor to Kings. Washington DC, National Museum of African Art, 1998. Fig. 45. Bourgeois and Rodolitz, REMNANTS OF RITUAL: SELECTIONS FROM THE GELBARD COLLECTION OF AFRICAN ART, Ethnos, New York, 2003, p.20, fig.46
This ritual mortar (ritual in that it is carved inverted, and the interior was never actually used as a mortar) has been attributed to the master Olowe of Ise, by Dr. Roslyn Adele Walker. Walker explains, Among the Yoruba, plain wooden mortars (odo) are used for pounding foodstuffs or cooked yams. Decorated ones are used in religious rituals, usually in an inverted position as a seat, table or shrine cover. Odo Sango are used in the worship of Shango, the thunder god, and, especially among the northern Ekiti-Yoruba, orun oba protect a chiefs memorial to his ancestors (cf. Walker, R., National Museum of African Art 98:132-133).