Modern African Figures

Human Figures and their cultural contexts.

This is a figurine made to commemorate a chief who died. These kinds of figures normally sit next to the current chief to convey a sense of tribe history(
This figure is supposedly filled with substances that protect against disease and other forces. This one has a feather head dress that is supposed to have more powers(
This is another figure that protects against disease and other forces. This one does not have a head dress(
This post would have probably held up the house of an important person. This post is made up of people who held up the power of this person(
"Iginga" is a term used for human. This figure was conditioned to give it a shiny appearance(
The bowls used by the Yorubas were usually used to bear gifts of welcome to visitors. The kneeling is a sign of respect(
The Tsogho create bundles and decorate them with figures. These bundles hold remains of ancestors and other powerful substances (
The Yoruba carve paired figures as memorials to twins. In their culture, twins are considered powerful beings(
This figure most likely had a male figure accompanying it. A Gheonga represents an ancestor (
Highlighted by its outsized hands, this figure exudes a quiet, yet potentially agressive stance.Its gaping mouth and raised lumps as eyes, creating an extremely abstract face (
This headdress is known as "zirigen-wunde" or which means "the new bride". This celebrates the role of Baga women in human and agricultural fertility (
Women and girls carry these figures to ensure their beauty and the health of their children. The flat disc heads and outstretched arms with a smooth black surface is considered ideal beauty(
This figure of a mother nursing her child was probably used to aid fertility. The mirrors in the child and mother were supposed to hold protective medicines (
This piece is not meant to ensure fertility. This piece conveys the high status of the female (
This figure is also a container for holding tobacco. It depicts a chief (
This is another figure used for holding snuff. This figure, however, depicts a woman sitting on a European-style chair (
This is a ritual figure of the Baule People. The scepter that the figure is holding exemplifies his power.
The eyes on the piece are made of mirror. The rings coming off of the red cloth give it a bird-like appearance, and the mouth ejects 2 duiker horns, giving the appearance of tusks (
The Biajo people believe that the soul lives on after death, but only if the family remembered them. Families have these in their homes and present sacrifices to them (
This is a figure of a male ancestor. It was probably attached to a skull basket (
This figure may have symbolized a guardian of an important Chokwe diviner. The horn she is carrying would have normally held potent substances (
Musician playing a koro. The koro is a rectangular shaped instrument (
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