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

Shadow puppet, Sita under her tree

Shadow puppet, Sita under her tree

Shadow puppet, Sita, India, Andhra Pradesh, early 20th century, Buckskin or goatskin, pigments, dim.: Height. 80cm width, 50 cm., 71.1967.25.47

This Tholubommalata shadow puppet portrays Sita, wife of Rama. Emblem of the devoted wife, Sita is the female character at the heart of the Ramayana. Lusted after by the leader of the evil spirits, she is one of the central characters of this traditional Indian epic which tells of the heroic acts of Rama against the army of evil spirits in order to rescue his love.