Skip Navigation

Figural post

Arts of Africa

Figural posts such as this one stood in an àfin (“palace”) or shrine. They held up verandas, supported courtyard openings, or served as screens. Like Māori lintels, such posts were part of symbolic ornamental ensembles. Yorùbá sculptors carved images to support the rule of their royal patrons. Departing from everyday life, where clothing was required, the woman’s nudity reflects the sacredness of her kneeling pose. The equestrian warrior ( jangunjangun) she supports carries a knife and now-missing spear, emblems that embody his àṣẹ (life force). The carving style suggests it was made in Èkìtì State, though the origins of this post continue to be researched. Like the Turner Towers block, rain has eroded its surface. Especially since the 1940s, new trends in the forms and functions of àfins eliminated many courtyards and their posts.
CULTURE Yorùbá artist
MEDIUM Wood, pigment
DATES late 19th or early 20th century
DIMENSIONS 62 3/4 x 8 1/2 x 6 in. (159.4 x 21.6 x 15.2 cm)  (show scale)
COLLECTIONS Arts of Africa
CREDIT LINE Gift of Allen A. Davis
CATALOGUE DESCRIPTION Carved wood figurative house post painted red-brown, and composed of a horse and rider at the top. The bearded rider holds the handle of a flywhisk in his right hand. The whisk rests on his right shoulder. His coiffure is painted blue. He wears arm rings and bracelets, a tasseled baldric and is seated on a saddle with stirrups. The horse has a bridle. The equestrian figure rests on a small platform. Under him is a figure of a kneeling woman with hands supporting breasts. She wears ear plugs, bracelets, an amulet necklace, and girdle. Her coiffure is painted blue. Condition: Good. Evidence of wear and erosion from age visible throughout. Rider's left forearm is missing.
MUSEUM LOCATION This item is not on view
CAPTION Yorùbá artist. Figural post, late 19th or early 20th century. Wood, pigment, 62 3/4 x 8 1/2 x 6 in. (159.4 x 21.6 x 15.2 cm). Brooklyn Museum, Gift of Allen A. Davis, 82.154.2. Creative Commons-BY (Photo: , 82.154.1_82.154.2_SL1.jpg)
IMAGE group, 82.154.1_82.154.2_SL1.jpg.
"CUR" at the beginning of an image file name means that the image was created by a curatorial staff member. These study images may be digital point-and-shoot photographs, when we don\'t yet have high-quality studio photography, or they may be scans of older negatives, slides, or photographic prints, providing historical documentation of the object.
You may download and use Brooklyn Museum images of this three-dimensional work in accordance with a Creative Commons license. Fair use, as understood under the United States Copyright Act, may also apply. Please include caption information from this page and credit the Brooklyn Museum. If you need a high resolution file, please fill out our online application form (charges apply). For further information about copyright, we recommend resources at the United States Library of Congress, Cornell University, Copyright and Cultural Institutions: Guidelines for U.S. Libraries, Archives, and Museums, and Copyright Watch. For more information about the Museum's rights project, including how rights types are assigned, please see our blog posts on copyright. If you have any information regarding this work and rights to it, please contact
Not every record you will find here is complete. More information is available for some works than for others, and some entries have been updated more recently. Records are frequently reviewed and revised, and we welcome any additional information you might have.