DescriptionAN UNIDENTIFIED AKAN PEOPLE FEMALE FIGURE
(LAGOONS AREA, COTE D'IVOIRE, WESTERN AFRICA)
The many Akan-speaking peoples living in the coastal Lagoons area of the Côte d'Ivoire share typically Akan figure carving styles. Characteristics include flat faces with small features, ridged hairdos, fat-ringed necks to indicate beauty and short, bulbous legs with constricted joints.
Female images are dominant in sculpture because Akan peoples are matrilineal. Figures may be thank offerings on shrines or used to help control troublesome spirits. Diviners may use them to establish a connection to the spirit world in order to gain access to hidden knowledge. White beads symbolizing truth and beauty are often worn, bandolier-style, across the chest by diviners, as they are on the present figure. For this reason, the image may have once been used by a diviner.
This figure shows surface wear consistent with handling where black pigment has worn off to reveal the lighter color of the wood underneath. Wear is especially visible on the face.
Height: 9 ½ inches
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