seated figure with legs bent and crossed one on top of the other; PL hand on hip, with elbow bent; very long PR arm with elbow on knee and chin resting on hand; slightly smiling face; large, high-set ears; figure wears a hat with protrusions on top and incised cross-hatched diamonds around edges; stone has tan patina; affixed to bronze-colored metal base

"Ntadi" figure, 19th century

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The stone used for this sculpture is relatively soft, so the artist could carve it almost as easily as wood. The figure was placed outside to demarcate the land of a clan, embellish the grave of a chief, and celebrate the legacy of the past. It represents a chief, recognizable by his hat, which once displayed four leopard claws (now missing), and his pensive pose—known as fumani, or “thinker of sad things”—which symbolizes wisdom, thoughtfulness, and authority.

Details
Title
"Ntadi" figure
Role
Artist
Accession Number
2017.28
Curator Approved

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seated figure with legs bent and crossed one on top of the other; PL hand on hip, with elbow bent; very long PR arm with elbow on knee and chin resting on hand; slightly smiling face; large, high-set ears; figure wears a hat with protrusions on top and incised cross-hatched diamonds around edges; stone has tan patina; affixed to bronze-colored metal base