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Standing Fetish Figure – African Coastal Region

Standing Fetish Figure Region: African Coastal Region The carved wooden figures of human beings and animals which are so typical of the art of equatorial Africa, especially in the interior and the west, are commonly grouped under the name of fetishes. This term, anglicized from a Portuguese word which was early applied in this sense, meant originally an amulet or […]
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Ancestor Figure – African Coastal Region

Ancestor Figure Region: African Coastal Region The Senufo of northern Côte d’Ivoire produce a rich variety of sculptures, mainly associated with Poro, a society guided by a female ancestral spirit known as “the Ancient Mother.” All adult Senufo men belong to Poro, and the society maintains the continuity of religious and historical traditions. During initiation, young men are instructed through […]
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Standing Ancestor Figure – Ivory Coast

Standing Ancestor Figure Region: Ivory Coast A large, standing female figure from the Attye people of Ivory Coast. The Attye belong to a group of small ethnicities, the so-called ‘Lagoon people’, on the eastern shore of the Ivory Coast. The sculpture shown here embodies the typical style of the Attye: mostly female figures with rounded, sturdy forms, oval faces with […]
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Face Mask – Liberia

Face Mask (Gunye Ge) Region: Liberia The border between Cote d’Ivoire and Liberia cuts across several ethnic groups, including the Dan, Wee, Kran, and Grebo. In 19th–mid-20th century Dan society, dangerous immaterial forest spirits are translated into the forms of human face masks. Whether or not they are worn, such sculptures are spiritually charged. Male performers, gle-zo, experience a dream […]
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Power Wand – African Coastal Region, Liberia

Power Wand Region: African Coastal Region, Liberia Among the Mende and nearby peoples of coastal Sierre Leone and Liberis, wilderness spirits are represented in the masksof an association called Sande. Members of Sande initiate young girls into adulthood; train them to be good mothers, wives, and citizens; and teach them the intricacies of social and spiritual life. During association ceremonies, […]
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Power Figure – Congo

Power Figure Region: Democratic Republic of the Congo Central African power figures are among the ubiquitous genres identified with African art. Conceived to house specific mystical forces, they were collaborative creations of Kongo sculptors and ritual specialists. This example belongs to the most ambitious class of that tradition, attributed to the atelier of a master active along the coast of […]
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Ancestor Mask – Ivory Coast

Ancestor Mask Region: Ivory Coast Finely carved ancestor masks were popular in northern Côte d’Ivoire by the early twentieth century. In northern Côte d’Ivoire, families owned kulié masks and used them in public dances during agricultural celebrations and funerary ceremonies.Poro associations then also maintained similar face masks to honor deceased members in performances restricted to men.
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Kuba King Figure – Ivory Coast

Kuba King Figure Region: Ivory Coast Ndop were figurative sculptures representing different kings (nyim) of the Kuba kingdom. The enthroned posture of seating has always communicated a sense of permanence and character. Although the sculptural genre appears naturalistic, ndop are not actual one-to-one representations of particular subjects, but rather a culmination of visual notations that represented the ideal characteristics of […]
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