Galerie Peter Herrmann - Klassische Kunst aus Afrika

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Mumuye Statue

before restauration
Photo: Uli Lack, Stuttgart
(Studio Thomas Kettner)
Graue Linie
Female Ancestral Figure

Mumuye, Nigeria
110 cm

Dark, hard wood with a surface left in a natural condition. At the base are damages by and traces of insects and a little damage at the left ear. Restored. The piece is otherwise well preserved. It entered the market at the beginning of the eighties via Cameroon as one of the last existing figures of its kind,

This is an impressive, very abstracted figure in stake-style. Elegant elaboration with a sculpturally optimal small turn away from the axis of symmetry, giving the calm expression an enormous dynamic. The head is quite large, with a small naturalistic emphasis and huge stylized ears above the enlongated body. The piece is one of the most expressive examples for this type of figures of the Mumuye - and highly esteemed in the fine art trade.






These Mumuye ancestral figures are kept strictly secret and supervised by the village's rainmaker. To infuse them with power they are stored near the craniums of important ancestors and regularly receive sacrifices. As guardian figures, they also serve to protect the house. During visits from important personalities, they are brought out by the rainmaker to accentuate this importance. The rainmaker often acts as a judge, and the figures help to determine the guilty party in a case and to punish it. In the case of disease, they are integrated into the healing rituals.


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