Saturday, June 20, 2009

Esie Soapstone

Esie Soapstone


Soapstone head 12th-15th century. This is a soapstone head collected by a German ethnographer and explorer, leo Frobenius in 1912 in the town of offa near Esie.

Soapstone female figure 12th -15th century. This is one of the largest of the stone carvings. The cutlass that she once held in her right hand and which rested against her shoulder is missing. The strong vertical line on her back and head and the ease with which she sits on her stool with her feet stuck back in its base form the pose of one with authority.


Seated figure 12th – 15th century. An Esie female stone figure, holding a cutlass, that rest on her right shoulder. The elaborate hairstyle consisting of a cluster of triangular or conical tuft is typical of female sculptures. The horizontal rows of three delicately incised marks on the head are found on male and female Esie sculptures.

Seated male 12th -15th century. An Esie male seated figure showed reaching for his quiver. Below the conical hat, the hair styled in the fashion of a woman. The three horizontal marks appear on the temple stone.

Seated male figure 12th -15th century. An Esie seated male figure holding a dagger in his lab. He appears too been wearing an elaborate headdress consisting of shapes resembling four snail shells affixed to a striated conical cap.

Seated female figure 12th – 15th century. An Esie female figure holding a cutlass. The cutlass rests against her right shoulder as a symbol of her office. The delicate scarification marks on her forehead and the heavier marks incised on her chin. The height of her elaborate coiffure is equal to that of her face, emphasizing the importance of the head, typical of so many Esie and later Yoruba figure sculptures.


Seated female figure 12th – 15th century. This is back view of a seated female figure. Four vertical rows of body scarification along the spine which then splay out in a pattern above the waistband of her skirt, t5he vstool consisting of two circular disks connected by a cylinder is typical of most Esie carvings.

Seated male figure 12th – 15th century. The sculpture although a fragment is remarkable among Esie carvings for the rendering of the head, elongation of the jaw line, and the thrust of the chin which is enhanced by the projection of the beard.

Seated male figure 12th – 15 th century. This is one of the largest of the Esie stone carvings, the sculpture of a seated male figure contrasts with other Esie sculptures. It conveys a sense of physical strength and there is an absence of bodily adornment apart from the necklace of the beads and the bow laying the skirt.

Seated male figure. This is one of the largest of the Esie stone carvings


Soapstone figure. This is one of the 800 stone figures found in a bush shrine in northern Yoruba land, where they are still objects of cult. Although its not yet known whether they are of Yoruba origin or whether they were made by Nupe before their conversion to Islam, though there is some internal evidence of Yoruba connections.


Soapstone figure. This is one of the most impressive Esie work of art. It is among the 800 others found in a bush shrine in northern Yoruba land


Soapston figure. This is probably from a figure of a life size. A larger proportion of the heads are broken from their bodies, but this piece does not confirm to the Esie style. It has more affinity with soapstone carvings of the past century or two at Ife about 40 miles to the south on the forehead a dagger is carved in redlief..

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