A Mumuye sculpture with scale-like legs, a slender torso, with fin-shaped arms, an elongated thick neck, surmounted with an ovoid head framed by disklike ears and a comblike coiffure; shiny blackened patina.
Until the 1970s most Mumuye sculpture was misattributed to their neighbors the Chamba. With no royal system, the Mumuye are organized by age classes and choose a village chief who is assisted by a council of elders. The vabong secret society regulates Mumuye religious life. Entry into the society is achieved through initiation ceremonies. The initiation of boys begins at the age of ten and takes place in a tsafi hut, where the statues are kept.
Even though the Mumuye shows great respect for the sculls of the ancestors, their statuary does not depict ancestors, but rather incarnates tutelary spirits. Yet, statues reinforce the status and prestige of their owner who, as he holds them in his hands, has a dialogue with them and thus ensures his personal protection. The functions of sculptural figures are varied. They were used by both diviners and healers, whose professions included diagnosis and cure of ill health and other kinds of misfortunes. The figures were used to greet rainmaker’s clients, guard the house, serve as owner’s confidant, and in trials when men in dispute swear on the statue, which they must kiss. Elders used them to reinforce their status in society. It was not unusual for a figure simultaneously to serve two or more functions…Zyama.com.
400 – 500, – Euro
Height: 91 cm
Weight: 2,6 kg