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Tribal art > African Statues > Statue Jukun

Statue Jukun (N° 19317)

It is during funerals, agricultural festivals or in case of danger that this type of carved figures are exposed in the north of the Benoue river. Their role is that of mediator between the afterlife and the priest. The flat, rectangular head appears to be wearing a helmet with distended ears and pupils that form the only projection of the face. The hands rest on the hips in a circular plateau, while part of the legs are eroded. Dark patina, residue clayey. Abrasions and desiccation cracks.
The Jukuns are a West and Central African population living mainly in Nigeria in the upper Benue Valley, also in north-west Cameroon. With the expansion of the former Jukun Empire, the Jukun or Wurbo of Nigeria have scattered into two groups: one settled south of the Donga River, and the second in the north of the region, near the Mumuye and Wurkum. The attacks of the Chambas first, then the Fulani later, contributed to the extinction of this kingdom. Their king, Aka uku, considered semi-devin, was also their intermediary to the royal ancestors, through rituals including the sacrifice of the king in case of plague or bad harvest. The Southern Jukun have a tradition of masks, including the male mask akuma linked to the cult of the same name, and four types of which have been listed by A.Rubin. They often have horns evoking the ram or antelope, related to the Akuma cult. The statues are rare, and belong to the mam cult widespread in eastern Nigeria. They represent deceased chiefs, their wives and their entourage. They are exhibited during ceremonies related to harvests and rain, and during crises. They are also known to have pairs of statues called anhebi , which are planted in the ground to protect crops. (Art of the Upper Benue River, C.Evers, and African Art, Kerchache).  

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OriginCollection P. Malisse
Height cm67
Width18 cm
Weight5.55 Kg
Estimated datingmid-xx°
Socle includedYes

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