Smoothness in Yoruba Aesthetics

George P. Landow, Professor of English and Art History, Brown University

According to Willet and Thompson, didon, a "luminosity, or shining smoothness of surface" (Willett, 213), such as appears in the examples above, is a favored quality in Yoruba -- and, one assumes, much other -- African sculpture in various media.

[Left: Ibo Queen Victoria; collection Pitt-Rivers Museum, Oxford University.]

[Center: Reliquary Guardian, Fang (Gabon), collection Carlo Monzino; illustrated Vogel, 23.]

[Right: Geh Porro society; illustrated in Richard Huber, Treasury of Fantastic and Mythological Creatures, NY: Dover, 1981, pl 121 (no pages).]

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