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Maker: Olowe of Ise
ca. 1875-ca. 1938
Yoruba artist
Bowl with figures
Date: Early 20th century
Medium: Wood, paint
Dimensions: H x W x D: 53.8 x 25 x 35 cm (21 3/16 x 9 13/16 x 13 3/4 in.)
Credit Line: Gift of Walt Disney World Co., a subsidiary of The Walt Disney Company
Geography: Nigeria
Object Number: 2005-6-34
Search Terms:
bird
Shrine/Altar
Object is not currently on exhibit

Sculptor to kings, Olowe of Ise is still honored among the Yoruba. His praise song says that he could carve 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 prestige bowl, owned by someone of high status, likely held kola nuts, a traditional gesture of hospitality presented to guests and offered to deities during rituals.

Wood kneeling female figure holding onto a large lidded bowl in polychrome paint of red, yellow, blue and green. The female has a high conical hairdo. Four female figures one painted red, one green, one yellow and one blue, at the base of the bowl with raised arms holding it, with a figure on top of the lid. The female figure has a carved representation of braids around her waist. The bowl and lid have stripes and lozenges.

Harry Hinchcliffe, Royal Navy, acquired Nigeria, ca. 1900 to ca. 1934


Mr. and Mrs. L. Hinchcliffe, ca. 1934 to1974


Paul and Ruth Tishman, New York, 1974 to 1984


Conversations: African and African American Artworks in Dialogue - From the Collections of the Smithsonian National Museum of African Art and Camille O. and William H. Cosby, Jr., National Museum of African Art, Smithsonian Institution, November 7, 2014-January 24, 2016



The Walt Disney-Tishman African Art Collection Highlights, National Museum of African Art, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C., May 21, 2009-June 4, 2014



African Vision: The Walt Disney-Tishman African Art Collection, National Museum of African Art, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C., February 15, 2007-March 31, 2009



Variations on a Theme: Three Olumeye by Olowe of Ise, Dallas Museum of Art, September 18, 2005-January 15, 2006



Olowe of Ise: A Yoruba Sculptor to Kings, National Museum of African Art, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C., March 15-September 7, 1998



For Spirits and Kings: African Art from the Paul and Ruth Tishman Collection, Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, 1981


Christie, Manson & Woods. 1974. Tribal Art....Auction catalogue (December 11). London, no. 47.



Freyer, Bryna M. and Christine Mullen Kreamer. 2010. "The Collection of the National Museum of African Art Smithsonian Institution." Sculpture Review LIX (1), p. 27.



Hornbeck, Stephanie E. 2009. "A Conservation Conundrum: Ephemeral Art at the National Museum of African Art." African Arts 42 (3), pp. 52-53, no. 3.



Kreamer, Christine Mullen, Bryna Freyer and Andrea Nicolls. 2007. African Vision: The Walt Disney-Tishman African Art Collection. Washington, D.C.: National Museum of African Art, Smithsonian Institution, pp. vi-vii, 14, 42-43, no. 10.



Kreamer, Christine Mullen and Adrienne L. Childs (eds). 2014. Conversations: African and African American Artworks in Dialogue from the Collections of the Smithsonian National Museum of African Art and Camille O. and William H. Cosby, Jr. Washington, D.C.: National Museum of African Art, Smithsonian Institution, p. 171, pl. 77.



National Museum of African Art. 2007. 2007-2008 School Calendar: Featuring the new Let's Read about Africa and the Sounds of African Music programs. Museum calendar. Washington, D.C.: National Museum of African Art, Smithsonian Institution, May 2008.



Smithsonian Books. 2009. Treasures from the Smithsonian Institution Calendar. Washington, D.C.: Smithsonian Institution.



Vogel, Susan (ed). 1981. For Spirits and Kings: African Art from the Paul and Ruth Tishman Collection. New York: Metropolitan Museum of Art, pp. 104-106, no. 56.



Walker, Roslyn Adele. 1998. Olowe of Ise: A Yoruba Sculptor to Kings. Exhibition brochure. Washington, D.C.: National Museum of African Art, Smithsonian Institution, no. 5.


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