Art and sacred among the Mumuye
Despite some field research, our knowledge of the sacred among the Mumuye is still embryonic. In all these acephalic groups of a binary and antinomic nature, the va complex constitutes an extremely varied semantic field, certain aspects of which are accentuated according to the circumstances. Religious power is linked to the strength contained in sacred objects, of which only the elders are the guardians. Moreover, this gerontocracy is based on a system of initiatory steps that must be taken to gain the status of “religious leader”. Geographically isolated, the Mumuye were able to resist for a long time the attacks of the Muslim invaders, the British colonial authority and the activities of the various Christian missions. As a result, the Mumuye practiced woodcarving until the beginning of our century.
In 1970, Philip Fry published his essay on the statuary of the Mumuye whose analysis of the endogenous network has so far lost none of its value. Based on in situ observations, Jan Strybol attempted to analyze the exogenous network of this wood sculpture. He was thus able to document about forty figures and a few masks and in addition identify more than twenty-five Mumuye artists as well as a specific type of sculpture as being confined to the Mumuye Kpugbong group. During and after the Biafran War, hundreds of Mumuye sculptures were collected. Based on information collected between 1970 and 1993, the author has demonstrated that a number of these works are not Mumuye but must be attributed to relic groups dispersed throughout Mumuye territory.
Author: Jan Strybol
Publisher: Stichting Kunstboak
Number of pages: 144
Dimensions: 285 x 215mm
Possibility of payment in 2x (2x 37.5 €)
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