Bowman riding a horse both set on a hollowed spherical support. Radio carbon dated to 945-1235 A.D.

Equestrian figure, about 1450

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Real or fake' That question has dogged this unique wooden horse rider since it first appeared on the art market. In 1980, X-ray testing and radiocarbon dating of the object indicated that it was carved from a single piece of wood dating from between 1250 and 1450, making it one of the oldest known Sub-Saharan sculptures. Further CT-scanning in 2012 confirmed this and showed no evidence of recent restoration.

The sculpture is from the Inner Niger Delta in Mali and fuses human dignity with animal strength. Horses were introduced from north of the Sahara to West Africa around 1000 CE and soon became prestigious possessions associated with political power and wealth.

Details
Title
Equestrian figure
Role
Artist
Accession Number
83.168
Curator Approved

This record is from historic documentation and may not have been reviewed by a curator, so may be inaccurate or incomplete. Our records are frequently revised and enhanced. If you notice a mistake or have additional information about this object, please email collectionsdata@artsmia.org.

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Bowman riding a horse both set on a hollowed spherical support. Radio carbon dated to 945-1235 A.D.