Djenne / Equestrian Figure / 945 - 1245Djenne
Equestrian Figure
945 - 1245

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Creator Nationality: African; North African; Sahelese; Mali; Jenne
Creator Role: Sculptor
Creator Name-CRT: Djenne
Title: Equestrian Figure
View: front
Creation Start Date: 945
Creation End Date: 1245
Creation Date: 945 - 1245
Object Type: Sculpture
Materials and Techniques: wood
Dimensions: H.28-1/4 x W.6-3/4 x D.10-1/4 in.
AMICA Contributor: The Minneapolis Institute of Arts
Owner Location: Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA
ID Number: 83.168
Credit Line: The Centennial Fund

This extraordinary rendering of a horse and rider is one of the two oldest known wooden sculptures from Sub-Saharan Africa. Few early, wooden works of art have survived the climatic conditions of this region. Bronzes and ceramics dating to the 5th century B.C. or earlier, however, provide broad evidence of the age and sophistication of artistic traditions in Africa. This work is stylistically close to the slightly later Djenne ceramic figures from the Niger River delta and shows, as well, its relationship to the recent and contemporary Dogon sculptural style.

The rider is equipped with a bow and quiver and wears a small, sheathed dagger on his arm. The rider is shown much larger than his horse to emphasize his power and importance. As in many other world cultures, riding a horse signifies high status and leadership. The details of this elaborate dress and ornament correspond to the accounts given by the 14th-century Berber traveler, Ibn Battuta, of the appearance of a sultan in the Mali empire where wealthy cities supported an elaborate court life.

AMICA ID: MIA_.83.168
Component Measured: overall
Measurement Unit: in
AMICA Library Year: 1998
Media Metadata Rights: ?The Minneapolis Institute of Arts

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