Kneeling Female Figure (Onile) Holding a Bell

18th–19th century

African Art

Paired onilé figures, representations of the co-owners of an Òsugbó house, are a symbol of unity within a lodge. The kneeling posture captures a traditional form of the Òsugbó greeting and confers respect, obedience, deference, and devotion. The Òsugbó (called Ògbóni by other Yoruba groups) is an association of male and female elders who are responsible for the selection, installation, abdication, and burial of kings; they also decide judicial cases and punish serious crimes in the society.




12 1/4 × 4 1/2 × 4 1/2 in. (31.12 × 11.43 × 11.43 cm)

Credit Line

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

Accession Number



18th–19th 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.



Charles B. Benenson Collection, Greenwich, Conn; Yale University Art Gallery, New Haven, Conn.

  • 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), 173.
  • "Acquisitions, July 1, 2005–June 30, 2006," Yale University Art Gallery Bulletin (2006): 222.
  • Richard Barnes, "Objects of Desire," Yale Alumni Magazine (September/October 2004): 33, ill.

Object copyright
Additional information

Object/Work type

figures (representations), sculpture

Technical metadata and APIs


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