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Carved Wood Yoruba Equestrian Altar Group of the Hunter-King Jagun-Jagun

Yoruba People, Nigeria
circa 1900

height: 63cm



UK art market

This large and imposing carved wooden sculptural group would have adorned an altar in a Yoruba shrine. It is carved from a single piece of wood. The double base features three caryatid figures which support the upper base: two females and one male. The upper base is surmounted by a large, central figure of the Hunter-King Jagun-Jagun astride a horse with two smaller figures to either side.

The hunter-king has ample scarrification about his face and forehead. A prominent goatee beard juts out from his chin. He has bulging almond-shaped eyes and prominently lips. He hold the reins for the horse in one hand and a thick sword in the other. The figure has a prominent eshu-style hairstyle which is mirrored in the form of the horse’s tail.

Several related figures are illustrated in Chemeche (2013). A similar image of Jagun-Jagun is in the Charles B. Benenson Collection Collection at the Yale University Art Gallery and illustrated in Lamp et al (2012, p. 301).

The group has a dark, encrusted patina and is in fine condition without repairs or significant losses. The item was acquired in the UK from an old colonial-era collection.


Chemeche, G., Eshu: The Divine Trickster, Antique Collectors’ Club, 2013.

Lamp, F.J., A.M. Maples & L.M. Smalligan, Accumulating Histories: African Art from the Charles B. Benenson Collection at the Yale University Art Gallery, Yale University Press, 2012.

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