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Tribal art - African Maternity:

Motherhood is a recurring theme in African art. The symbolism is always the same, that the child is carried on the back, in the arms, that it takes the breast, that it rests on the knees, it is hieratic. Motherhood is not the affective expression between the child and his mother, but it is a sign of fertility and reveals an inexhaustible source of meanings ranging from the family nucleus to politics and religion.

Senoufo maternity statuette
Tribal art > African Maternity > Senoufo statuette

The face is imbued with solemnity for this female figure with a neck and tubular limbs, as if frozen in a seated posture, supporting with her clasped hands the child clinging to her back. This piece was probably dedicated to a family liturgical practice, in relation to fertility. Thick blackish patina, residual crusty deposits. One foot is missing. The Senoufo, the name given to them by the French colonists, are mainly composed of farmers who are scattered between Mali, Côte d'Ivoire, and Burkina Faso. Councils of elders, led by an elected chief, administer Senoufo villages. Governed by matrilineal traditions, they are composed of clusters of dwellings named katiolo. Each has its own Poro association that initiates young boys from the age of seven in a succession of three cycles ...

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Urhobo maternity figure
Tribal art > African Maternity > Statue Urhobo

Ex-collection of Belgian African tribal art.

The theme of the woman breastfeeding her child forms a frequent subject in the statuary urohobo, idoma, afo and igbo. The sculpture would embody an edjo. It stands out from the igbo sculpture thanks to the deep vertical facial scarifications. Yellow ochre crusty patina, locally flaked. Damaged base, erosion and desication cracks.
Urhobos, living near the northwest of the Niger Delta River, are the main ethnic group in The Delta State among the 36 states of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. They speak Urhobo, a language of the Niger-Congo group. Together with the Isoko, whose art is close, they are collectively known as Sobo. Their large sculptures depicting the spirits of nature, edjo, or the founding ancestors of the clan, to whom ...

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Maternity Idoma Anjenu
Tribal art > African Maternity > Idoma statue

An altar figure named anjenu, this maternity sculpture is enhanced with a patina alternating yellow ochre, kaolin, and a matte black. The bleached face is reminiscent of igbo/idoma masks whose mouth reveals cut teeth. These statues are frequently placed near the body of the deceased during mourning ceremonies. They are associated with a cult, widespread among animist Idoma as well as the Igala and Yoruba of the South, which is supposed to promote women's fertility and protect their offspring. These statues, which benefited from offerings, were kept in shrines.
The Idoma live at the confluence of Bené and Niger. There are 500,000 farmers and traders. Their art and customs have influences from Igbo, the Cross River and Igala, and it is often difficult to distinguish them from their ...

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Maternity figure Lobi Bateba
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Tribal art > African Maternity > Lobi Maternity

Sitting on a narrow stool, legs parallel, an infant figure carved in bas-relief on the abdomen, this representation of woman to child has a concave head on which are drawn wide eyes below features indicating the hairstyle. This wooden sculpture, the Bateba, was placed on the altar after a ritual to become the receptacle of a spirit of the bush, the Thil, and thus become an active, intermediate being who fights against sorcerers and all other harmful forces. The light wood is tinged with a beautiful semi-crusty, locally abraded dark patina. Long crack of desication running from the head to the bust.
When they are honored, these spirits show their benevolence in the form of abundant rains, good health, many births; Ignored, they remove it and lead to devastating epidemics, drought and ...

Lulua Maternity Figure
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Tribal art > African Maternity > Statue Lualua

The different types of statues Luluwa, Lulua, or Bena Lulua, with multiple scarifications, glorify local leaders, motherhood, fertility and the female figure. The umbilical is particularly prominent, the center of the body and the object of all solicitudes ( The Power of the Sacred, M. Faïk-Nzuji) Diamonds, erogenous and symbolic protruding scarifications, checkered circles and rectangles embellish strategic parts of the anatomy and face of perosnnage.
s dark satinpatine.
The Lulua, or Béna Lulua from West Africa, settled in the south of the Democratic Republic of Congo. Their caste-based social structure is similar to that of the Luba. They produced few masks, but especially statues of ancestors representing the ideal warrior, mulalenga wa nkashaama, as well as the head of ...

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Maternity figure Senoufo Tugubele
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Tribal art > African Statues > Tugubele Maternity

This female figure depicted sitting on a stool, nursing her child, is wearing braids assembled in shells forming a stylized motif linked to the bird of divination, the calao. Beautiful blackish patina, lustrous, speckled with mahogany brown, residual kaolin in the hollows. Erosions on the back of the headdress. Ancient piece from the Belgian Mercier collection, patiently collected over three generations.
The Senoufos, the name given to them by french settlers, are mainly made up of farmers who have dispersed between Mali, Côte d'Ivoire, and Burkina Faso. The councils of elders, led by an elected chief, administer the senoufo villages. Governed by matrilineal traditions, they are composed of clusters of dwellings named katiolo . Each of them has its own association Poro which ...

Large Maternity Lobi
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Tribal art > African Maternity > Large Maternity Lobi

Ex collection French African art.

A woman kneeling with her hands resting on her thighs, looks at the horizon. Its features are both simple and realistic, typical of lobi statuary. The patina is raw, leaving visible the multitude of wood rings still testifying to the desication to which it was subjected. Fertility, one of the central themes of African cultures, is addressed in this piece as evidenced by the volume of this pregnant woman's belly and chest.

Lobi communities are organized around nature spirits. When honoured, these spirits show their benevolence in the form of heavy rains, good health, numerous births. Ignored, they remove it and lead to devastating epidemics, drought and suffering. These figurines are placed on the tombs, in a dark corner of the ...

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Tikar maternity
Tribal art > African Maternity > Tikar maternity

Ex private French collection of African art. Typical representation of a maternity according to the canons of art Tikar. Sitting on a royal stool, she holds two children on her lap. High-lined, she is richly adorned with jewels, necklace and bracelets around her neck and wrists. The headdress is very elaborate and many ritual scarifications cover her belly. The seat of the stool is highly worked and based on a five-person caryatid base. The tribes that live in the Grasslands, in northwestern Cameroon, are part of the Tikar peoples, divided into several independent kingdoms in the Bafut kingdom. The structure of the kingdom consists of a large chiefdom subdivided into quarters: residences of queens, children and notables. The notables constitute the hierarchy of the chieftaincy.

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