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Tribal art > African Statues > Statue Mumuye

Mumuye tutelary figure (N° 18711)

The characteristics of Mumuye statues embodying tutelary figures are often erroneously attributed to neighboring Chamba. They are recognizable by the cylindrical body, the space formed by the arrangement of the arms around the bust, the stocky legs, crenellated here, and, in the majority of cases, the stylized headdress with side panels. Some were placed on altars, received sacrifices and libations, and could even perform judicial functions. Mumuye statues also consisted of figures of prestige for their owners. The top here consists of three heads perched on long necks, the base of which is inlaid with textile mixed with resin. The matte patina is abraded, residual incrustations of pink ochre pigments. Cracks of desiccation.
The statuary emanating from the northwestern region of the Middle Benue, from the Kona Jukun, to the Mumuye and up to the Wurkun populations is characterized by a relative absence of ornamentation and a refined stylization. The 100,000 Adamawa language speakers form a group called Mumuye South of the Benoue River, in a region of difficult access that isolated them until 1950. They are grouped in villages, dola, divided into two groups: those of fire ( tjokwa) related to blood and the color red, guardians of the cult vabong, among whom are elected the chiefs, and those of water, ( tjozoza), related to humidity and the color white. It is among the latter that the priests of the rain are chosen, initiates of the cult vadosong . The Mumuye are organized in family groups called dola . Their statues iagalagana were stored in a hut, tsafi , reserved for this purpose, while another hut, java , housed an individual with magical powers and surrounded himself with ritual objects related to his function and prestige.  

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Originex-collection Mercier
Material(s)wood, textile, resin
Height cm145
Width24 cm
Weight12.00 Kg
Estimated dating1ère halfxx°

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