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Ishtar Gate, Dragon of Marduk MushhushImage Details
Ishtar Gate, Dragon of Marduk Mushhush (31.25)

Balance of Power: A Throne for an African Prince

Tuesday, November 19, 2013 – Sunday, March 16, 2014

According to Yoruba oral history, artist Olówè of Ise (about 1870–1938) could sculpt a person’s likeness on the spot—without looking at the wood he was carving. In his day, Olówè was the most sought-after artist for Yoruba royalty. Kings from far and wide called on him to sculpt the decorations that filled their palaces. Today, Western museums consider his works priceless.


This special exhibition spotlights a single extraordinary work by Olówè: a throne he made for Prince Ilori, heir apparent of the town of Isè in southwestern Nigeria. This exhibition is organized by the Detroit Institute of Arts. Support has been provided by the Walter Gibbs Endowment Fund.


image: Olówè of Ise (about 1870–1938), Chief’s Throne, about 1930, wood.  Museum Purchase, Ernest and Rosemarie Kanzler Foundation Fund, and with funds from Robert B. Jacobs. DIA no. 2008.47

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