Tribal art > African Statues > Statue Sakalava
Female figure Sakalava (N° 17392)
Ex-collection Belgian African art.
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The tropical island of Madagascar is located off the coast of Mozambique. Its first inhabitants are said to have been Polynesians who have taken refuge on the east coast of Africa, but have been repelled by Arab-Muslim traders. Several kingdoms developed there as early as 1500, including Sakalava on the west coast of the island. The most famous plastic achievements of the Malagasy consist of a statuary linked to funeral rites. While the Mahafaly statues were an integral part of pillars aloalo, fragments of panels above the heads bearing witness, the figures of ancestors Sakalava, in round-bump, frequently represent the deceased and his companion of the opposite sex. The north-east of the tomb, sacred position associated with the aurora, the resurrection, the ideal time for circumcision also, was considered by the Malagasy as the place conducive to the installation of the statue of the deceased. To the southwest of the tomb, on the other hand, was installed the image of his opposite-sex partner, symbolizing an ideal union. This female ancestor figure is depicted naked, legs spread in the continuity of the bust. A graceful arm remains. One can distinguish the birth of the shells that make up his hairstyle. Wind, salt and sand helped to criss-cross, crack these figures, giving the wood a characteristic desication, resulting in an exceptional dullness of the clear patina. According to some authors, the fishermen Vezo of the south coast have produced similar sculptures.
Of the tribal art collection Guy Mercier, consultant for the Solvay group, dating back to the early 20th century. While radiating in West and Central Africa as part of his work, and collecting in-situ works, the majority of his collection is nevertheless derived from Curiosity cabinets which abounded in European capitals during the 1920s. It also comes from prestigious galleries (Paris, Brussels, London, New York).
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