African Art
Artist: Agbedeyi Asabi Ija

Lid to Vessel for Stones of the River God Erinle (Omori Awo Ota Erinle)

late 19th century


12 × 10 1/2 × 10 in. (30.48 × 26.67 × 25.4 cm)
Gift of Gerald K. Helleiner, Ph.D. 1965
Devotees of the god Erinle, “King-within-the-River,” fill earthenware vessels with river water or seawater and riverbed stones. This is the lid, or an awo ota erinle, of such a vessel; its open, dome-like construction is a stylized rendition of the crowns worn by Yoruba monarchs. Erinle vessel lids occasionally appear in dance performances, placed atop the heads of female devotees. The female potter who created this vessel worked in a style similar to that of the master artist Abatan Odefunke Ayinke Ija.
Guinea Coast, Nigeria
Yorùbá, Egbado subgroup
19th century
Containers - Ceramics

Gerald K. Helleiner (born 1936), New Haven, Conn.; given to the Yale University Art Gallery, New Haven, Conn., 1964


African Terracottas South of the Sahara, exh. cat. (Detroit: Detroit Institute of Arts, 1972), no. 191.

Note: This electronic record was created from historic documentation that does not necessarily reflect the Yale University Art Gallery’s complete or current knowledge about the object. Review and updating of such records is ongoing.