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23 November

feminity, fertility

In non-western cultures, female effigies often incarnate ancestors.

In connection with the spirit world, of which they are guardians, they also represent goddess-mothers or goddesses who can be wild, protective, bearers of wisdom, noble or hieratic, graceful or sensual, and which are usually symbols of fertility.

With regard to the portrayal of motherhood, a recurring theme in African art, this refers to the idea of continuing the family or clan lineage, and to the transmission of knowledge.

  • Hooks

  • Anthropomorphic sculpture

  • Commemorative effigy

  • Ceremonial cloth

  • A Maam man attacking a pregnant woman

  • Statuette depicting a mother and her child

  • Statuette depicting the goddess Kankalinmata

  • Manasa, the goddess of snakes

  • Anthropomorphic mask

  • Anthropo-zoomorphic mask

  • Motherhood

  • Motherhood

  • Helmet mask

  • Female statuette

  • Cup bearer

  • Shadow puppet, Sita under her tree

  • Ritual doll

  • Chalchiuhtlicue

  • Anthropomorphic statuette: motherhood

  • Hunchback female figurine

  • Female figurine


Female statuette

Female statuette

Female statuette, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Mangbetu, Early 20th century, wood, cotton, 46.3 x 14 x 13cm, 1791g, 73.1966.2.1

The anthropomorphic figures sculpted by the Mangbetu people are distinguished by a very pronounced elongation of the back of the head. This characteristic corresponds to the aesthetic canons of the Mangbetu. This deformation was achieved by compressing the cranium of new-borns with a band. The headdress also contributes to the elongation of the head. Female body painting was also a beauty criterion and this can be seen on this statuette.