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Saturday, July 14, 2018

Greatest Yorubaland African Sculptor

Greatest Yorubaland African Sculptor

African Art History
Eastern Yorubaland in Nigeria Africa born the most important African sculptor of the 20th century, Olowe of Ise. Born around 1875 Olowe of Ise made Yorubaland one of the most important centers of Yoruba wood art carving.
Yoruba African Sculptor Olówè of Isè
Yoruba African Sculptor Olówè of Isè

Yorubaland African sculptor Olowe of Ise saw in every rough block of wood a thing of beauty. Olowe of Ise Yoruba African sculptor famous artwork a wooden bowl carving is a fabulous example of his challenging sculptural work. Olowe of Ise worked in the small town of Ise in southwestern Nigeria Africa.


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Olowe of Ise early life and training in sculpture are unknown.


Who is Yorubaland Olowe of Ise

Yoruba African Sculptor Olówè of Isè
Yoruba African Sculptor Olówè of Isè


Olowe of Ise descendants claim he was self-taught, but it is likely that he learned the Yoruba canon and perfected his carving skills during an apprenticeship. 


Eventually he became a master artist at the King's palace, and as his fame grew, other Yoruba kings and wealthy families commissioned him to carve architectural sculptures, masks, drums and other objects for their palaces.


Among the Yoruba such elaborately carved and decorated bowls were prestige objects used to offer kola nuts to guests or to deities during religious worship. 


Olowe was an innovative and virtuosic, even daring, artist as demonstrated in this sculpture. The image of four dancing girls on the lid, for example, is the first such representation in Yoruba art. 


Olowe's choice of dancers raises questions about his inspiration. Olowe also depicted nude males, one of whom is kneeling, on this bowl. Such renderings are exceptional and challenge the Yoruba canon.

African Artist Olowe of Ise famous wooden bowl carving
African Artist Olowe of Ise
famous wooden bowl carving 


Did you know?
Olowe of Ise worked in the small town of Ise in southwestern Nigeria, Yorubaland. Olowe is considered as the most important Yoruba artist of the 20th century.

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