Equestrian Shrine Figure (Ojúbọ Ẹlẹ́ṣin) Depicting a Priestess of Ọya Artist: Moshood Olúṣọmọ Bámigbóyè (Kájọlà, Kwara State, Nigeria, ca. 1885–1975)


African Art

On view, 1st floor, African Art

This sculptural group was part of a shrine for the goddess Oya, wife of Sàngó, deified king of Old Oyo and god of thunder and lightening. The central figure, a priestess of Oya, is mounted on horseback and holds a royal fan and a rooster for sacrifice. On her forehead is the inverted double celt staff of Sàngó. On her left are a trumpeter and a soldier; on her right, a male and female couple stands with a drummer. Behind her on the horse, a male figure donning a female hairstyle carries the ritual bags of a Sàngó priest. A royal servant and messenger hold the horses reins. The equestrian priestess's cool composure is conveyed by her expressionless face, her perfectly balanced posture, and the colors of white and blue.


Possibly ire (rubber tree) and pigment


29 1/8 × 14 in. (74 × 35.5 cm)

Credit Line

Charles B. Benenson, B.A. 1933, Collection

Accession Number



20th century


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 records is ongoing.



John Friede (born 1938), New York. Pace Gallery, New York, by March 27, 1980; sold to Charles B. Benenson (1913–2004, b.a. 1933), Greenwich, Conn., March 27, 1980; bequeathed to the Yale University Art Gallery, New Haven, Conn., 2004

  • James Green et al., Bámigbóyè: A Master Sculptor of the Yorùbá Tradition, exh. cat. (New Haven, Conn.: Yale University Art Gallery, 2022), 125–29, 163–64, 192, 197n93, 204, 206–7, 209, fig. 81, 104, 125
  • Matthew Monteith, "The Explainers," in "Teaching with Art," special issue, Yale University Art Gallery Bulletin (2013), 66, ill
  • Christine Kreamer, African Cosmos: Stellar Arts, exh. cat. (New York: The Monacelli Press, 2012), 216–17, fig. 12.1
  • Frederick John Lamp, Amanda Maples, and Laura M. Smalligan, Accumulating Histories: African Art from the Charles B. Benenson Collection at the Yale University Art Gallery (New Haven, Conn.: Yale University Art Gallery, 2012), 121, ill
  • George Chemeche, ed., The Horse Rider in African Art (London: Antique Collector's Club Ltd., 2011), 120–21
  • Frederick John Lamp, "Hot Space, Cool Space: The Reinstallation of the African Art Collection in the Louis Kahn Building at Yale University," African Arts 40 (Summer 2007), 42, 45, fig. 9, 17
  • "Acquisitions, July 1, 2005–June 30, 2006," in "Photography at Yale," special issue, Yale University Art Gallery Bulletin (2006), 222, 227, ill
  • Susan Vogel and Jerry L. Thompson, Closeup: Lessons in the Art of Seeing African Sculpture from an American Collection and the Horstmann Collection, exh. cat. (New York: Museum for African Art, 1990), 144–45, fig. 74
  • William B. Fagg, Yoruba, Sculpture of West Africa, ed. B. Holcombe (New York: Pace Primitive, 1982), 126 -127, no. 37, fig. 37
  • Roslyn Adele Walker, African Women / African Art, exh. cat. (New York, NY: African-American Institute, 1976), 27, no. 36, fig. 13
Object copyright
Additional information

Object/Work type

figures (representations), funerary art, mythology, religious art

Technical metadata and APIs


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