standing nude female figure, in dark wood; geometric linear pattern carved on torso, back and chest; small, nude child hanging on back of the figure

Maternity figure, first quarter 20th century

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Wood, metalexpand_more

Gift of Debrah and Harris Feinnexpand_more  2019.126

Not on Viewexpand_more

Dan people call this type of figure mü le, or “wooden person.” The renowned Ivorian master carver Zlan, who died in 1960, once reminisced one of his mü le: “I went to a chief of the Dan, named Bu, in Tuba … [F]or him I carved a figure with a child on the back. For it he gave me a sheep, a goat, and a large garment. On Bu’s command I carved the woman as his head wife looked.” Although not carved by Zlan himself but possibly by one of his pupils, this maternity was made as a prestige object for a chief or wealthy patron. It is one of the few genres in African art that often portrays actual persons, be it in idealized form.

Details
Title
Maternity figure
Role
Artist
Accession Number
2019.126
Curator Approved

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standing nude female figure, in dark wood; geometric linear pattern carved on torso, back and chest; small, nude child hanging on back of the figure