House post

early 20th century
Artist Obembe Alaye (Nigerian, about 1869–1939)

Object Place: Efon Alaiya Village, Editi district, Nigeria


207.01 cm (81 1/2 in.)

Accession Number


Medium or Technique

Wood, pigments

On View

Richard B. Carter Gallery (Gallery 171)


Africa and Oceania



Yoruba cities are often dominated by extensive, centrally located palaces with verandas and courtyards. Roofs are supported by wooden posts, sometimes carved with images of royal stability and power. Obembe Alaye carved this pair for the Efon-Alaye palace. Each post is composed of one warrior and two female figures. All are large-headed and sharp-featured three-dimensional forms encased in a darkened patina of red, green, and black paint. Three of the women hold infants; one warrior is on horseback; the other bears a spear and musket. One base is rectangular, the other dome-shaped, and the tops terminate with reliefs of spears.


European private collection. December 14, 1992, sold by Pace Primitive and Ancient Art, New York (stock no. 54-0291), to William and Bertha Teel, Marblehead, MA; 1996, partial gift of William and Bertha Teel to the MFA; 2014, acquired fully with the bequest of William Teel to the MFA. (Accession Dates: December 18, 1996 and February 26, 2014)

Credit Line

Gift of William E. and Bertha L. Teel