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This art included the use of wood, clay, stone, ivory, bronze, copper, and brass as material for these visual art works.
Provenance in African arts is often hard to prove. This is the same case in Yoruba art where the artist is not clearly identified as the author of that art work. Concepts of authenticity in African art is different by virtue of the African concept of ownership; the owner of that art work is the person who ordered or commissioned an art work and not the artist himself. This is further compounded by the fairly recent commodification of African art (Stokes, 1999: 10). Many art objects were sold and re-sold to different private individuals and museums as result. It is not surprising that quite often, real authorship is lost and very hard to trace indeed.
Hints in public knowledge of the real author of an art work may impinge on the owner in terms of prestige, power, and success in the public persona arena (ibid.). This is why most of Yoruba art hardly reflects on the real authorship but rather emphasizes the ownership of it. One aspect of Yoruba art that is very prominent is the use of art works in religious worship. A number of Yoruba art works reflect the ritualistic traditions among the people and an art work shown as an example here is good symbolism of the central role of religion (see Fig. 1).
Women in Yoruba society occupy an important role. Although most scholarly literature points to a male-dominated society, this is not the case as validated by their works of art. The women in Yoruba have acquired divine authority as shown in the arts (Abiodun, 1989:2). It is a significant deviation from the common misconceptions of male dominance. The women as depicted in Yoruba art are almost always calm, dignified, and possessed of divine powers. In Yoruba art, women are accorded as powerful but also as subordinates (Olajubu, 2003:105).
The essence of most Yoruba art is to
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