Tribal art > African Statues > Sakalava statue
Sakalava/Mahafaly ancestor figure (N° 20451)
The most renowned plastic achievements of the Malagasy consist of statuary related to funeral rites. If the statues of the Mahafaly were an integral part of pillars aloalo ,the fragments of panels above the heads testifying to this, the figures of ancestors Sakalava, in the round, frequently represent the deceased and his companion of the opposite sex. The northeast of the tomb, a sacred position associated with dawn, resurrection, the ideal time for circumcision as well, was considered by the Malagasy to be the appropriate place for the installation of the statue of the deceased. To the southwest of the tomb, on the other hand, was installed the image of his partner of the opposite sex, symbolizing an ideal union.
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This male ancestor figure is represented naked, frozen in a rectilinear position.
The wind, the salt and the sand contributed to furrow, to crack these figures, conferring on wood this characteristic desiccation, resulting in an exceptional mattness of the clear patina.
According to some authors, the Vezo fishermen of the southern coast produced similar sculptures.
From the collection of tribal art Guy Mercier,consultant for the Solvay group, who undertook it in the early 20th century. While radiating in West and Central Africa within the framework of its work, and collecting works in-situ, the majority of its collection is however resulting from "cabinets of curiosity" which abounded in the European capitals during the Twenties. It also comes from prestigious galleries (Paris, Brussels, London, New York)
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