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VALLEY 19th and 20th Century African Art: Veranda post of enthroned king and senior wife (Opo Ogoga)

Analysis of the Bundu Mask

Identification

Veranda Post of the Enthroned King and his Senior Wife (Opo Ogoga). Olowe of Ise (Yoruba peoples). c.1910-1914 C.E. Wood and pigment

 

Context

Cultural and/or historical influences: The Yoruba people are from Nigeria. There were 4 other Veranda pieces that were found in the palace and sculpted by Olowe of Ise.  

Artist background/ influences: A well known artist named Olowe of Ise. The artist is from the region of Ise in southwestern Nigeria. He also carved bowls, reliefs, masks, other and veranda posts, for kings and aristocrats. He was considered one of the best carvers in the 20th century. He was the king of Ise.

Content

Narrative: The sculpture represents the king as the focal point, but it shows his dependence on others. It celebrates his source of power, which is found in the community. The female behind him represents his senior wife, where she is ready to place te crown on the king's head during his coronation. This implies that a man cannot rule without a woman beside him. As the senior wife is the main piece, and the junior wife, near his feet, are depicted in a smaller form. The represents a stylized piece.

Themes:

  • Domestic Life- the porch posts were used as architectural pieces
  • Religion- connects the spiritual and the human world
  • Power and Leadership- represents a king on a throne and honors his power

Symbols: 

  • Senior wife- represents protection during the king's reign; supports her community (like the sculpture supports the veranda of the palace) 
  • Head pieces- represents a divine presence
  • Crown on king- represents past leaders and their link to spiritual realms
  • Bird on head- supernatural power for the king to help protect his people; a symbol for female ancestors and elderly women

 

Image

Additional Resources

Thematic or Cross-Cultural Connections: The veranda post have a cross cultural connection with the majority of other African works because they honor their leaders through rituals. They believe that their leaders are a spiritual link in their societies. In addition, they honor female figures through their art because they are very important in African societies.

Image Map

The Yoruba people live in southwestern Nigeria and the southern Republic of Benin.

Works Cited/ Resources

Works Cited
"The Art Institute of Chicago." Veranda Post of Enthroned King and Senior Wife (Opo Ogoga) | The Art Institute of Chicago. N.p., n.d. Web.
Kleiner, Fred S. Gardner's Art Through The Ages, AP® Edition. 15th ed. N.p.: Cengage Learning, n.d. 1129. Print.
"Olowe of Ise, Veranda Post (Yoruba People)." Khan Academy. N.p., n.d. Web.
"Veranda Post of Enthroned King and Senior Wife (Opo Ogoga), 1910/14." The Art Institute of Chicago. N.p., n.d. Web.
Links: 
http://www.artic.edu/aic/collections/exhibitions/African/Veranda
http://www.artic.edu/aic/collections/artwork/102611
https://www.khanacademy.org/humanities/ap-art-history/africa-ap/v/olowe-veranda
 

Form

Materials: The Veranda post is made from wood and pigment.

Process: It is a carved sculpture.

Visual/Physical Elements: The veranda represents an emphasize piece of work because of the exaggerated proportions. It figures's sizes represents their importance, where the least important is the smallest, while the most important is the largest figure. In addition, each figure's head is exaggerated to represent the head is the focal point.

Function

Purpose/Intention: The sculpture was a veranda, or porch, post. It was intended to be part of structural post among a palace porch. The veranda piece was created for the palace and the royal family in the Yoruba society.

Patron/Intended Audience: The work is was most likely commissioned by a king.

Viewed/Experienced: The king intended the work to be viewed in everyday life since it is part of an architectural structure. It was placed at the palace in Ikere.

Vocabulary

Opo Ogoga- veranda posts 

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