The copyright status of this image is either dependent on the territories into which you are publishing or is undetermined due to limited information on the creator. Please contact us if you have any questions.
Sculptor to kings, Olowe of Ise is still honored among the Yoruba peoples of Nigeria. His praise song says that he could carve the hard iroko wood as though it was as soft as a gourd. The delicacy and dramatic composition of this bowl exemplify his talent, which embodies the standards of Yoruba art in iconography and proportions, yet pushes them to their limits and redefines the rules. This early 20th-century prestige bowl with figures, owned by someone of high status, likely held kola nuts, a traditional gesture of hospitality presented to guests and offered to deities during rituals.
Bowl with figures, c.1925 (polychrome wood), Olowe of Ise (c.1875-1938) / Bequest of William A. McCarty-Cooper / Bridgeman Images