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Figure of Mother and Child (Phemba)

Unknown19th century

Brooklyn Museum

Brooklyn Museum
Brooklyn, New York City, United States

Carved wooden mother and child. Mother, who is nursing child, is seated cross-legged, supporting childs head with right hand and legs with left hand. She has high, spade-like headdress, open protruding mouth revealing filed teeth, and glass eyes with black pupils. Ears are carved spatially and have pink bead earrings strung on wire through ear lobes. Over much of shoulders and back are scarification marks. Above breasts are a band and a necklace. Infant child, with mirror in center of abdomen, has hand on mothers stomach. Second mirror is attached with four nails to lower part of mothers back. There is a deep crack running down the figure of the mother from below her chin through the torso. Other cracks throughout figure and base. Often old crack repairs open up again and need to be refilled.

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