Object Name: Shrine sculpture (izemize)
Culture: Ishan peoples
Place of Origin: Nigeria
Date/Era: 19th-20th century
Dimensions: H: 201.0 cm, W: 70.0 cm, D: 13.0 cm (H: 79.1 in, W: 27.5 in, D: 5.1 in)
Medium/Materials: Wood, pigment, cloth, string, fiber, chalk
Credit Line: Fowler Museum at UCLA. Gift of Jerome L. Joss.
Accession Number: X92.78
This striking and unusual sculpture depicts a male figure standing between two snakes; above him a leopard attacks an antelope. It may have been a kind of architectural sculpture or a shrine announcing the importance of its owner. The positioning of the male figure in a threshold, empowered by his animal counterparts, makes a powerful statement about the liminality of human existence. The chalk and indigo on the surface are associated with the purity and coolness of the spirit world.
Source: Gallery text, Intersections: World Arts, Local Lives, 2006.
See also: Marla C. Berns, World Arts, Local Lives: The Collections of the Fowler Museum at UCLA. Fowler Museum, Los Angeles, 2014.