Monday, February 13, 2017

The Fagalde Collection of West African Tribal Art - The African Maternity Figures


Afo peoples, Nigeria,
19th century (wood)

Afo maternity figures are thought to represent an ancestral mother and are owned by individual villages.These figures are brought out of their shrines once a year for the Aya ceremony. At this time, men pray for increased fertility in their wives and make gifts of food and money to the ancestor... (read more...)

Figures representing a mother and child seem to occur less frequently than other subjects, such as chiefs or warriors on horseback, reclining or kneeling females, or animals, especially snakes. The meaning of these ancient maternity figures is unknown. Perhaps such figures served as symbols of the primordial mother or another mythical figure in the history of a clan in which the sculpture originated. Regrettably, the stratigraphic context in which most of these objects have been discovered and other pertinent data are unknown. Even so, it is possible to date the objects... (continue...)

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