118 - Nok rider and his horse

Katsina Ala

The fact that the horse is almost never represented in the Nok statuary makes this is an extremely rare piece. This approximately 2,000 year-old horse/rider statue is extremely rare, if not unique. Some think that the horse was not brought to Nigeria until the 10th or 11th century. Others estimate that it had been in use since the 1st century A.D.. Horses teeth have been found in excavations among cut or polished stones and fragments of Nok pottery, thus validating the second assertion. The teeth had been pierced to be worn as an amulet, undoubtedly by a warlord. The horse and its rider presented here have been successfully dated using thermoluminescence with the greatest meticulousness. Four samples were tested and provide indisputable results.

This statue has been artistically treated; the horse and the rider are quite coherent. The elongated heads of the animal and the man actually resemble each other and are well known Katsina Ala characteristics.

H. 32 cm x L. 25 cm x W. 10 cm
Dating : 1,400 to 2,000 years
Private collection (France)

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