A tall, slender Mumuye figure
A tall, slender Mumuye figure, Nigeria's Benue River Valley region, decorated with brass rings around the neck and waist depicting a snake motif (neck ring); the sculpture shows signs of ritual use and partly a handle patina, which underlines its long-lasting use, blackened to reddish surface.
"...during the late 1960s a large number of carved wooden representations of the human figure, in diverse but distinctive and plausibly related styles, appeared on the international art market. Philip Fry isolated the core of consistency among these formally diverse works and, drawing upon Mette Bovin´s field research, identified them as having originated among the Mumuye (P.Fry 1970).
Figures in a similar style, however, accessioned by the British Museum in 1922, had been published as Chamba on the basis of ostensibly reliable collection data (Fagg 1071, 37; 1963:figs. 138a, b).
While doing fieldwork in the Benue valley (1964-66), I surveyed the arts of both Chamba of Dakka and Donga and other published materials, convince me of fundamental differences between these two styles (Frobenius 1912: III, 231; Gunn 1959; 43,55; Stevens 1976). This high degree of stylistic diversity is paralleled by the variety of functions of Mumuye figures: some were used as oracles, others in connection with healing, and still others in connection with healing, and still, others reinforced the status of important elders as embodiments of vaguely conceived tutelary spirits." Arnold Rubin, Fagg 1970, Schaedler, a.a.O. S. 287 ff; Herremann, 185; Wente-Lukas, 1977.
"These unique works, which are so admired today, did not reach Western museum and the international art market until the end of the 1960s, with the exception of two sculptures acquired by the British Museum in 1922. As regards function, we only know that the figures were stored in special houses and were used by diviners, healers, judges, blacksmiths, and rainmakers in ceremonial contexts. Some of them also served as family guardian statues and as status symbols for powerful men." Stelzig (in Wick and Denner 2009: VIII).
1.200 - 1600,- Euro
Height: 104 cm incl. plinth
Weight: 4,8 kg