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Ancestral figure

African, Burkina Faso, Dagari peoples
20th century
Artist Unidentified

Object Place: Burkina Faso


Overall: 75 x 31.5 cm (29 1/2 x 12 3/8 in.)

Accession Number


Medium or Technique


Not On View


Africa and Oceania, Contemporary Art



The Dagari, a sub-group of the Lobi peoples of present-day Burkina Faso, are known for their carved figurines housed in family shrines. The shrines honor a particular deity, called thil, which presides over the household and protects the family. Lobi carvers are not given special status within the community and no specialized training is required to carve such a figurine. These carvings are thought to be living beings that communicate with the thil.


1995, sold by Galerie Majestic, Paris, to Geneviève McMillan (b. 1922 - d. 2008), Cambridge, MA; 2008, to the Geneviève McMillan and Reba Stewart Foundation, Cambridge; 2009, gift of the Geneviève McMillan and Reba Stewart Foundation to the MFA. (Accession Date: June 17, 2009)

Credit Line

Gift of Geneviève McMillan in memory of Reba Stewart