Showcasing the art and ritual of the African and African-diaspora religions

Stool for orisa

Catalog Number: D019


32.39 cm tall, 25.4 cm wide, 21.59 cm deep


12.75" tall, 10" wide, 8.5" deep


Religion and Denomination: Yoruba indigenous religion (Yoruba)
Country of Origin: Nigeria
Ethnographic Origin: Yoruba
Materials: Wood
Date of Manufacture: 06/2006
Usage: N/A
Detailed Description of Significance:

The fact that there are both male and female figures as a part of the stool indicates that the stool can be used for both male and female orisa. The crossed legs of the standing orisa mimic the sign of having one’s fingers crossed in anticipation or hope; these figures are eagerly waiting for the orisa to arrive. Their eyes gaze straight ahead, symbolically both looking forward to the arrival of the orisa and indicating that the orisa look far into the future. Their hands raised above their heads indicate that they are symbolically carrying the orisa, providing a berth for it when it is invoked. All of the figures have large heads because the head is viewed as the focus of divine energy in Yoruba religion; their exaggerated head size emphasizes the divinity of this ritual object.

The figures bear marks on their faces similar to those seen in the Gẹlẹdẹ mask. These marks are specific to the Oyo region of Yorubaland (see map on front page for geographical location). This indicates that this piece was made in the Oyo region.