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MFA Images: African

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  • Stool

    African, Cameroon, Duala peoples
    early 20th century

    Description

    Provenance

    Mark D. Altschule Collection, Rose Art Museum, Brandeis University, Waltham, MA. 1994, Hurst Gallery, Cambridge, MA; 1994, gift of Hurst Gallery to Katherine Burton Jones, Newton, MA; 2005, gift of Katherine Burton Jones to the MFA. (Accession Date: January 26, 2005)

    Credit Line

    Gift of Katherine Burton Jones

    Details

    Dimensions

    Overall: 36.8 x 23.5 x 49.5 cm (14 1/2 x 9 1/4 x 19 1/2 in.)

    Accession Number

    2005.1195

    Medium or Technique

    Wood and pigment

    Not On View

    Collections

    Africa and Oceania

    Classifications

    Furniture, Seating and Beds

    More Info
  • Necklace

    Mfengu peoples
    early 20th century

    Object Place: South Africa

    Description

    Provenance

    2000, sold by Deborah Stokes to Drs. James and Gladys Strain, New York; 2005, year-end gift of Drs. James and Gladys Strain and Dr. Jamie P. Strain to the MFA. (Accession Date: January 25, 2006)

    Credit Line

    Gift of Drs. James and Gladys Strain and Dr. Jamie P. Strain

    Details

    Dimensions

    Diameter: 215.9 mm (8 1/2 in.)

    Accession Number

    2005.1199

    Medium or Technique

    Glass beads, metal chain, and string

    Not On View

    Collections

    Africa and Oceania, Jewelry

    Classifications

    Jewelry / Adornment, Beads

    More Info
  • Beaded Bag

    African, Kirdi peoples, Northern Cameroon
    late 20th century

    Description

    Provenance

    2004, year-end gift of Drs. James and Gladys Strain and Dr. Jamie P. Strain to the MFA. (Accession Date: February 23, 2005)

    Credit Line

    Gift of Drs. James and Gladys Strain and Dr. Jamie P. Strain

    Details

    Dimensions

    Overall: 25.5 x 17 cm (10 1/16 x 6 11/16 in.)

    Accession Number

    2004.2242

    Medium or Technique

    Beads, shells, fiber

    Not On View

    Collections

    Africa and Oceania, Contemporary Art, Jewelry

    Classifications

    Jewelry / Adornment, Beads

    More Info
  • Beaded Apron (Cache-sexe)

    African, Kirdi peoples, Northern Cameroon
    late 20th century

    Description

    Provenance

    2004, year-end gift of Drs. James and Gladys Strain and Dr. Jamie P. Strain to the MFA. (Accession Date: February 23, 2005)

    Credit Line

    Gift of Drs. James and Gladys Strain and Dr. Jamie P. Strain

    Details

    Dimensions

    Overall: 20.8 x 47.5 cm (8 3/16 x 18 11/16 in.)

    Accession Number

    2004.2241

    Medium or Technique

    Beads, shells, fiber

    Not On View

    Collections

    Africa and Oceania, Contemporary Art, Jewelry

    Classifications

    Jewelry / Adornment, Beads

    More Info
  • Baule Face Mask

    African, Cote d'Ivoire, Baule or related peoples
    20th century
    Artist Unidentified

    Description

    Provenance

    By 1924, with the Heath family, East Freetown, MA; by descent within the family to Luise Heath; 1993, by inheritance to Dwight B. and Anna C. Heath; 2004, year-end gift of Dwight and Anna Heath to the MFA. (Accession Date: February 23, 2005)

    Credit Line

    Gift of Dwight B. and Anna C. Heath in memory of their son David

    Details

    Dimensions

    Overall (h x w): 31.8 x 19.1 cm (12 1/2 x 7 1/2 in.)

    Accession Number

    2004.2238

    Medium or Technique

    Carved wood, iron peg, fiber

    Not On View

    Collections

    Africa and Oceania, Contemporary Art

    Classifications

    Masks

    More Info
  • Beaded Collar

    Xhosa peoples
    early 20th century

    Object Place: South Africa

    Description

    Provenance

    2000, sold by Deborah Stokes to Drs. James and Gladys Strain, New York; 2005, year-end gift of Drs. James and Gladys Strain and Dr. Jamie P. Strain to the MFA. (Accession Date: January 25, 2006)

    Credit Line

    Gift of Drs. James and Gladys Strain and Dr. Jamie P. Strain

    Details

    Dimensions

    Overall: 23.5 x 10.8 cm (9 1/4 x 4 1/4 in.)

    Accession Number

    2005.1202

    Medium or Technique

    Glass beads, buttons, and string

    Not On View

    Collections

    Africa and Oceania, Jewelry

    Classifications

    Jewelry / Adornment, Beads

    More Info
  • Stool

    African, Cameroon (Babanki chiefdom)
    early to mid-20th century

    Description

    Provenance

    Sold by Hurst Gallery, Cambridge, MA, to Timothy Phillips, Boston; 2005, year-end gift of Timothy Phillips to the MFA. (Accession Date: January 25, 2006)

    Credit Line

    Gift of Timothy Phillips

    Details

    Dimensions

    Overall: 49.5 x 49.5 cm (19 1/2 x 19 1/2 in.)

    Accession Number

    2005.1210

    Medium or Technique

    Wood

    Not On View

    Collections

    Africa and Oceania

    Classifications

    Furniture, Seating and Beds

    More Info
  • Ritual pounder (dal)

    Senufo peoples
    20th century
    Artist Unidentified

    Object Place: Cote d'Ivoire

    Description

    This female deble figure is utilized in Poro society initiations and in the memorial ceremonies conducted long after actual burial that initiate the soul of the dead into the society of the ancestors. Poro society members carry it by its arms while rhythmically beating the ground with its base to purify the earth and/or to communicate with the other world. Such figures are usually carved as a male-female pair and are preserved within a sacred grove. The slender torso and enormously attenuated arms accentuate the negative space, while curves in the frontal view contrast with angularity in profile. This figure from the Boundiali region was collected in 1956 and was included in the 1963 Senufo exhibition curated by Robert Goldwater (but arrived too late to be included in the catalogue).

    Provenance

    By 1963, Henri and Hélène Kamer (later Hélène Leloup), New York [see note 1]. Private American collection. December 1, 1994, sold by Pace Primitive and Ancient Art, New York (stock no. 54-0770) to William and Bertha Teel, Marblehead, MA; 1996, partial gift of William and Bertha Teel to the MFA; 2014, acquired fully with the bequest of William Teel to the MFA. (Accession Dates: December 18, 1996 and February 26, 2014) NOTES: [1] They lent this to the exhibition "Senufo Sculpture from West Africa" (Museum of Primitive Art, New York; Art Institute of Chicago; Baltimore Museum of Art, 1963), cat. 57A.

    Credit Line

    Gift of William E. and Bertha L. Teel

    Details

    Dimensions

    88.9 cm (35 in.)

    Accession Number

    1996.390

    Medium or Technique

    Wood, shell

    Not On View

    Collections

    Africa and Oceania

    Classifications

    Sculpture

    More Info
  • Beaded crown (Adenla)

    Yoruba peoples
    Mid-20th century
    Artist Unidentified

    Object Place: Idowa/ Ijebu, Nigeria

    Description

    Provenance

    1998, gift of Paul and Cindy LeVasseur to the MFA. (Accession Date: December 31, 1998)

    Credit Line

    Gift of Paul and Cindy LeVasseur

    Details

    Accession Number

    1998.566

    Medium or Technique

    Glass beads, fabric, thread

    Not On View

    Collections

    Africa and Oceania

    Classifications

    Personal accessories

    More Info
  • Yoruba house posts

    Yoruba peoples
    early 20th century
    Carved by Obembe Alaye (Nigerian, about 1869–1939)

    Object Place: Efon Alaiya Village, Editi district, Nigeria

    Description

    Yoruba cities are often dominated by extensive, centrally located palaces with verandas and courtyards. Roofs are supported by wooden posts, sometimes carved with images of royal stability and power. Obembe Alaye carved this pair for the Efon-Alaye palace. Each post is composed of one warrior and two female figures. All are large-headed and sharp-featured three-dimensional forms encased in a darkened patina of red, green, and black paint. Three of the women hold infants; one warrior is on horseback; the other bears a spear and musket. One base is rectangular, the other dome-shaped, and the tops terminate with reliefs of spears.

    Provenance

    European private collection. December 14, 1992, sold by Pace Primitive and Ancient Art, New York (stock no. 54-0291), to William and Bertha Teel, Marblehead, MA; 1996, partial gift of William and Bertha Teel to the MFA; 2014, acquired fully with the bequest of William Teel to the MFA. (Accession Dates: December 18, 1996 and February 26, 2014)

    Credit Line

    Gift of William E. and Bertha L. Teel

    Details

    Dimensions

    210.82 cm (83 in.)

    Accession Number

    1996.388

    Medium or Technique

    Wood and pigment

    On View

    Richard B. Carter Gallery (Gallery 171)

    Collections

    Africa and Oceania

    Classifications

    Sculpture

    More Info
  • House post

    Yoruba peoples
    early 20th century
    Artist Obembe Alaye (Nigerian, about 1869–1939)

    Object Place: Efon Alaiya Village, Editi district, Nigeria

    Description

    Yoruba cities are often dominated by extensive, centrally located palaces with verandas and courtyards. Roofs are supported by wooden posts, sometimes carved with images of royal stability and power. Obembe Alaye carved this pair for the Efon-Alaye palace. Each post is composed of one warrior and two female figures. All are large-headed and sharp-featured three-dimensional forms encased in a darkened patina of red, green, and black paint. Three of the women hold infants; one warrior is on horseback; the other bears a spear and musket. One base is rectangular, the other dome-shaped, and the tops terminate with reliefs of spears.

    Provenance

    European private collection. December 14, 1992, sold by Pace Primitive and Ancient Art, New York (stock no. 54-0291), to William and Bertha Teel, Marblehead, MA; 1996, partial gift of William and Bertha Teel to the MFA; 2014, acquired fully with the bequest of William Teel to the MFA. (Accession Dates: December 18, 1996 and February 26, 2014)

    Credit Line

    Gift of William E. and Bertha L. Teel

    Details

    Dimensions

    207.01 cm (81 1/2 in.)

    Accession Number

    1996.387

    Medium or Technique

    Wood, pigments

    On View

    Richard B. Carter Gallery (Gallery 171)

    Collections

    Africa and Oceania

    Classifications

    Sculpture

    More Info
  • Bowl bearer (mboko)

    African, Luba peoples, Democratic Republic of the Congo
    late 19th–early 20th
    Artist Unidentified

    Description

    A kneeling female bowl-bearer called mboko is one of several important sculptural genres found throughout the wider area of Luba influence. Commonly placed before the house of a woman who has borne her first son, these works were also employed in divination contexts. This heavily patinated example from the central Shankadi region has a distinctive cruciform coiffure and raised diamond-shaped keloids on the torso. The detachable lid of the bowl bears a similar head with slit eyes and composed features.

    Provenance

    Private collection, Belgium. August 5, 1992, sold by Marc Leo Felix (dealer), Brussels, to William and Bertha Teel, Marblehead, MA; 1996, partial gift of William and Bertha Teel to the MFA; 2014, acquired fully with the bequest of William Teel to the MFA. (Accession Dates: December 18, 1996 and February 26, 2014)

    Credit Line

    Gift of William E. and Bertha L. Teel

    Details

    Dimensions

    46.99 cm (18 1/2 in.)

    Accession Number

    1996.386

    Medium or Technique

    Wood

    On View

    Richard B. Carter Gallery (Gallery 171)

    Collections

    Africa and Oceania

    Classifications

    Sculpture

    More Info
  • Vessel for serving beer (Izikhamba)

    Zulu peoples
    20th century

    Place of Manufacture: South Africa

    Description

    Provenance

    Purchased in South Africa by Bernard and Suzanne Pucker, Boston; 2000, year-end gift of Bernard and Suzanne Pucker to the MFA. (Accession Date: January 24, 2001)

    Credit Line

    Gift of Suzanne and Bernard Pucker in honor of and with friendship for Charles and Judy Hood

    Details

    Dimensions

    Height x diameter: 12 1/2 x 15 Diameter in. (31.8 x 38 Diameter cm)

    Accession Number

    2000.1237.1

    Medium or Technique

    Blackened terracotta with incised decoration;

    Not On View

    Collections

    Africa and Oceania

    Classifications

    Ceramics, Pottery, Earthenware

    More Info
  • Ancestral figure

    Oron peoples
    20th century
    Artist Unidentified

    Object Place: Nigeria

    Description

    Provenance

    By the mid-1960s, purchased in Nigeria by a private collector and taken to Chicago. Mid-1980s, purchased by Drs. James and Gladys Strain, New York; 2003, year-end gift of Drs. James and Gladys Strain and Dr. Jamie P. Strain to the MFA. (Accession Date: January 21, 2004)

    Credit Line

    Gift of Drs. James and Gladys Strain and Dr. Jamie P. Strain

    Details

    Dimensions

    Overall (h x w): 43.2 x 8.9 cm (17 x 3 1/2 in.)

    Accession Number

    2003.792

    Medium or Technique

    Wood, camwood

    Not On View

    Collections

    Africa and Oceania

    Classifications

    Sculpture

    More Info
  • Mask (bwoom)

    African, Kuba peoples, Democratic Republic of the Congo
    20th century
    Artist Unidentified

    Object Place: Democratic Republic of the Congo

    Description

    This forceful helmet mask performed at initiations and other ceremonies related to the foundation of the Kuba kingdom and its ruling Bushoong dynasty. Depending on the context, such masks might embody nature spirits, commoners, nearby Mbuti (pygmy) forest dwellers, or the founder Woot’s contentious brother Bwoom, who competed for the affections of Woot’s wife-sister. The bulging forehead and lips are sheathed in copper, and lavish strands of beads ornament the surface, beard, and ears.

    Provenance

    Acquired in Zaire (Democratic Republic of the Congo) by Marc Leo Felix (dealer), Brussels; October 26, 1989, sold by Felix to William and Bertha Teel, Marblehead, MA; 1994, partial gift of William and Bertha Teel to the MFA; 2014, acquired fully with the bequest of William Teel to the MFA. (Accession Dates: January 26, 1994 and February 26, 2014)

    Credit Line

    Gift of William E. and Bertha L. Teel

    Details

    Dimensions

    33.02 cm (13 in.)

    Accession Number

    1994.414

    Medium or Technique

    Wood, copper, beads, cloth, shells, and seeds

    Not On View

    Collections

    Africa and Oceania, Contemporary Art

    Classifications

    Masks

    More Info
  • Punu Mask (Okuyi)

    Punu peoples
    20th century
    Artist Unidentified

    Object Place: Gabon

    Description

    White-faced masks were emoyed by several Ogoew River peoples, chiefly he Puna and Lumbo, and also were traded widely by the coastal Mpongwe. They are said to embody the personas of past community elders and were worn by costumed stilt-dancers at Mukuji society funerary rites. This example has the characteristic three-part black coiffure, arching brows over slit eyes, and pursed red lips. The haunting combination of beauty and balance was much admired by early European collectors.

    Provenance

    May 22, 1969, sold by the Galerie Le Corneur Roudillon, Paris, to William Teel and Bertha, Marblehead, MA; 1994, partial gift of William and Bertha Teel to the MFA; 2014, acquired fully with the bequest of William Teel to the MFA. (Accession Dates: January 26, 1994 and February 26, 2014)

    Credit Line

    Gift of William E. and Bertha L. Teel

    Details

    Dimensions

    11 1/2 in. h x 7 in. w x 7 in. d

    Accession Number

    1994.394

    Medium or Technique

    Wood, pigments

    Not On View

    Collections

    Africa and Oceania

    Classifications

    Masks

    More Info
  • Mask (pwevo)

    African, Chokwe peoples, Democratic Republic of the Congo
    19th–20th century
    Artist Unidentified

    Object Place: Democratic Republic of the Congo; Angola

    Description

    This mask represents a beautiful young woman, the original female ancestor of the Lwena people. A male dancer wore the mask as he performed highly acrobatic movements, often using poles set into the ground for assistance.

    Provenance

    1991, sold by Marc Leo Felix (dealer), Brussels, to the MFA. (Accession Date: April 24, 1991)

    Credit Line

    Otis Norcross Fund

    Details

    Dimensions

    39.37 cm (15 1/2 in.)

    Accession Number

    1991.354

    Medium or Technique

    Wood, vegetable fiber, string, metal

    Not On View

    Collections

    Africa and Oceania, Contemporary Art

    Classifications

    Masks

    More Info
  • Mother and child (ntadi)

    African, Kongo peoples, Democratic Republic of the Congo
    19th century or earlier
    Artist Unidentified

    Description

    The Kongo kingdom encountered by the Portuguese in the early 1480s was an extensive, well-organized state encompassing a diversity of affiliated peoples. The Kingdom exchanged emissaries with the Portuguese court. The elite converted to Christianity and maintained a trading partnership with Europeans for years. The power of the kind and court was affirmed by a wealth of prestige objects and emblems, including royal funerary sculptures called ntadi, which were carved from steatite and placed on graves as memorials. Intended as conceptual likenesses, they also exude the monumental composure appropriate to a person of importance. This ntadi portrays a mother nursing a child. Her headdress incorporates four leopard claws, a reference to the kind of the forest and thus a symbol of royal authority. While some ntadi represent men, many are of women, who were honored in this matrilineal society as founders and propagators of the dynasty. Some ntadi originally were painted, and flecks of green remain on this figure.

    Provenance

    Paul Tishman (b. 1900 - d. 1996), New York. March 11, 1987, sold by Pace Primitive and Ancient Art, New York (stock no. 51-8907), to William and Bertha Teel, Marblehead, MA; 1991, year-end gift of William and Bertha Teel to the MFA. (Accession Date: January 22, 1992)

    Credit Line

    Gift of William E. and Bertha L. Teel

    Details

    Dimensions

    35.56 cm (14 in.)

    Accession Number

    1991.1063

    Medium or Technique

    Steatite

    On View

    Richard B. Carter Gallery (Gallery 171)

    Collections

    Africa and Oceania

    Classifications

    Sculpture

    More Info
  • Power figure (nkisi nkondi)

    African, Kongo peoples, Democratic Republic of the Congo
    19th–20th century
    Artist Unidentified

    Description

    This sculpture, called nkisi nkonde, functioned as a hunter-healer of conflicts. The figure was commissioned, owned, and activated by the nganga specialist, who was trained and tested as a counselor or mediator skilled in treating afflictions of the body and spirit. Nails or blades were hammered into the work to seal a vow or to awaken its power to solve a problem or dispute. Whitened with pigment and leaning subtly forward, the figure has an open mouth suggesting the uttering of judgments, and mirrors in the abdomen and eyes to deflect danger.

    Provenance

    About 1958, acquired from his grandfather by Dr. A. Reymond, Morges, Switzerland; 1960, sold by Dr. Reymond to Hans Hess (dealer), Basel. Private collection, Switzerland. 1978, acquired by Pace Primitive and Ancient Art, New York and sold to a private collector, New York. 1987, sold by Pace Primitive and Ancient Art to William and Bertha Teel, Marblehead, MA; 1991, year-end gift of William and Bertha Teel to the MFA. (Accession Date: January 22, 1992) NOTE: Provenance information taken from a memorandum provided by Pace Primitive and Ancient Art (n.d.).

    Credit Line

    Gift of William E. and Bertha L. Teel

    Details

    Dimensions

    61 x 30.5 x 20.3 cm (24 x 12 x 8 in.)

    Accession Number

    1991.1064

    Medium or Technique

    Wood, glass, iron nails, pigment, sacred material

    On View

    Richard B. Carter Gallery (Gallery 171)

    Collections

    Africa and Oceania, Contemporary Art

    Classifications

    Sculpture

    More Info
  • Diviner's Bowl (opon igedeu)

    Yoruba peoples
    Artist Arowogun (Areogun) of Osi-Ilorin (Nigerian (Yoruba peoples), about 1880–1956)

    Object Place: Nigeria

    Description

    One of the most prolific Yoruba artists was Arowogun of Osi-Ilorin, whose commissions included palace doors and pillars as well as smaller objects, such as this bowl, which was used for the storage of ritual materials in Ifa divination ceremonies, widely practiced among the Yoruba. It was used by the babalawo (father of secrets), a priest and diviner for Ifa, the Yoruba god of wisdom and divination. Reliefs around the side include images of the trickster/messenger god Esu, a warrior, a drummer, and women. On the lid, Esu-his book and pipe nearby-is depicted as a bicycle rider, a signature of Arowogun’s work and a reference to the role divination continues to play in modern life.

    Provenance

    August, 1986, collected in Nigeria [see note 1] and acquired by Charles Davis, Davis Gallery, New Orleans; autumn 1986, sold by Davis Gallery to William and Bertha Teel, Marblehead, MA; 1991, year-end gift of William and Bertha Teel to the MFA. (Accession Date: January 22, 1992) NOTES: [1] According to Charles Davis this comes from the village of Omu-Aran, Nigeria.

    Credit Line

    Gift of William E. and Bertha L. Teel

    Details

    Dimensions

    Height: 31.11 cm (12 1/4 in.) Diameter: 29.21 cm (11 1/2 in.)

    Accession Number

    1991.1066

    Medium or Technique

    Wood, pigment traces

    On View

    Richard B. Carter Gallery (Gallery 171)

    Collections

    Africa and Oceania

    Classifications

    Religious and cult objects

    More Info
  • Mask (bikeghe)

    African, Fang peoples, Gabon
    Late 19th to early 20th century
    Artist Unidentified

    Object Place: Middle Ogowe River area, Gabon

    Description

    Masks such as this one appeared in Fang initiations and at other ceremonial occasions largely concerned with community crisis and protection. Some of these masks are elongated, others have two or four faces. Both types frequently show white, heart-shaped faces framed by arching brows. This large mask with variegated coloring is called bikeghe and is said to represent a part-human, part-animal force responsible for ensuring social order. Its aggressive projecting brow and sharp nose may have been intended to induce respect or fright.

    Provenance

    By 1982, Eduardo Uhart, Paris [see note]. June 18, 1986, sold by Pace Primitive and Ancient Art, New York (stock no. 51-7995), to William and Bertha Teel, Marblehead, MA; 1991, year-end gift of William and Bertha Teel to the MFA. (Accession Date: January 22, 1992) NOTE: Yale Van Rijn Archive of African Art, no. 0055543.

    Credit Line

    Gift of William E. and Bertha L. Teel

    Details

    Dimensions

    48.26 cm (19 in.)

    Accession Number

    1991.1067

    Medium or Technique

    Wood, pigment

    On View

    Richard B. Carter Gallery (Gallery 171)

    Collections

    Africa and Oceania

    Classifications

    Masks

    More Info
  • Figure

    African, Dogon peoples, Mali
    Late 19th to early 20th century
    Artist Unidentified

    Description

    According to Dogon cosmology the creator god Amma and the female earth joined to create the Dogon primordial ancestors, known as nommo. Wooden sculptures said to represent these nommo spirits or their worshippers were carved by blacksmiths and placed on family altars. This figure illustrates the typically Dogon elongation of torso and neck, and the contrasting interplay of curving and angular, vertical and horizontal, elements. The combining of both male and female characteristic is also common.

    Provenance

    1960s, sold by J. J. Klejman (dealer), New York, to Samuel Wagstaff (b. 1921 – d. 1987), Hartford, CT; sold by Wagstaff to William Rubin (b. 1926 – d. 2006), New York. September, 1984, sold by Michael Oliver, Inc., New York, to William and Bertha Teel, Marblehead, MA; 1991, partial gift of William and Bertha Teel to the MFA; 2014, acquired fully with the bequest of William Teel to the MFA. (Accession Dates: January 22, 1992 and February 26, 2014)

    Credit Line

    Gift of William E. and Bertha L. Teel

    Details

    Dimensions

    height: 50.8 cm (20 in.)

    Accession Number

    1991.1068

    Medium or Technique

    Wood

    On View

    Richard B. Carter Gallery (Gallery 171)

    Collections

    Africa and Oceania

    Classifications

    Sculpture

    More Info
  • Male ancestor figure

    African, Mambila peoples, Cameroon
    19th–20th century
    Artist Unidentified

    Object Place: Cameroon

    Description

    Forceful images such as this one were created by Mambila artists as foci for protective spirits in the healing rituals of the Suaga association. The human type, known as tadep, usually has a large face and often displays the hand-to-mouth gesture implying deference. These characteristics were radically simplified in the unusual example shown here. The small concave face seems to be compressed by the triangular ears and overhanging brow. The body has been transformed into an inhuman cylindrical form of deep angular planes with serrated edges, creating an effect of explosive energy.

    Provenance

    Marc Rabun, New York and Bryce P. Holcombe (d. 1983), New York [see note]; to Pace Primitive and Ancient Art, New York (stock no. 51-7848); October 3, 1985, sold by Pace Primitive and Ancient Art to William and Bertha Teel, Marblehead, MA; 1991, year-end gift of William and Bertha Teel to the MFA. (Accession Date: January 22, 1992) NOTE: Yale Van Rijn Archive of African Art, no. 0047327. Holcombe was director of Pace Primitive and Ancient Art until his death in 1983.

    Credit Line

    Gift of William E. and Bertha L. Teel

    Details

    Dimensions

    66.04 cm (26 in.)

    Accession Number

    1991.1082

    Medium or Technique

    Wood

    On View

    Richard B. Carter Gallery (Gallery 171)

    Collections

    Africa and Oceania, Contemporary Art

    Classifications

    Sculpture

    More Info
  • Gelede headdress

    Yoruba peoples
    late 19th century
    Artist Master of Anago (Late 19th century)

    Object Place: Republic of Benin

    Description

    The Gelede society honors the creative and potentially destructive powers of women, especially elderly women (referred to as “our mothers” and identified with sorcery). At annual celebrations marked by elaborate dance performances, paired male and female masks worn by men appear in rich textile costumes complete with wooden breasts. This mask, with delicate incising but no paint, presents an aesthetic contrast between the sharp-bladed headpiece and beard, and the round-featured, serene face. It is one of several distinctive pieces credited to an unnamed late-nineteenth century carver in the Anago area of what is now the Republic of Benin, near the Nigerial border.

    Provenance

    Bryce Holcombe (d. 1983), New York [see note 1]; October, 1985, sold by Pace Primitive and Ancient Art, New York, to William and Bertha Teel, Marblehead, MA; 1991, gift of William and Bertha Teel to the MFA. (Accession Date: January 22, 1992) NOTES: [1] Director of Pace Primitive and Ancient Art. This object was first exhibited at Pace in 1982.

    Credit Line

    Gift of William E. and Bertha L. Teel

    Details

    Dimensions

    41.91 cm (16 1/2 in.)

    Accession Number

    1991.1081

    Medium or Technique

    Wood, pigment

    On View

    Richard B. Carter Gallery (Gallery 171)

    Collections

    Africa and Oceania

    Classifications

    Masks

    More Info
  • Shango staff

    Yoruba peoples
    early to mid-20th century
    Artist Unidentified

    Object Place: Nigeria

    Description

    The Yoruba religious world has a pantheon of deities called orishas, whose identities and attributes are recorded in ritual objects. Priests and devotees of Shango, the fiery god of thunder and lightning, commission dance staffs to invoke his striking power and protection. These usually depict a sensuous female figure bearing on her head the twin celts or double-axe emblem of Shango. This polished staff, which includes a child on the woman’s back, may have come from the Agbegi compound of Ijomu in the Igbomina-Oro region.

    Provenance

    Sold by Peter Wengraf, Arcade Gallery, London, to Claude Bentley (b. 1915 - d. 1990), Highland Park, IL [see note]. February 10, 1979, sold by Pace Primitive and Ancient Art, New York, to William and Bertha Teel, Marblehead, MA; 1991, year-end gift of William and Bertha Teel to the MFA. (Accession Date: January 22, 1992) NOTE: Yale Van Rijn Archive of African Art, no. 0043354.

    Credit Line

    Gift of William E. and Bertha L. Teel

    Details

    Dimensions

    54.61 cm (21 1/2 in.)

    Accession Number

    1991.1070

    Medium or Technique

    Wood

    On View

    Richard B. Carter Gallery (Gallery 171)

    Collections

    Africa and Oceania

    Classifications

    Sculpture

    More Info
  • Female figure

    African, Bamileke peoples, Cameroon
    19th–20th century
    Artist Unidentified

    Object Place: Cameroon

    Description

    More than a hundred chieftaincies are identified with the Grasslands. These were often rivals for both territory and self-aggrandizing arts. Probably from a court in the Bamileke area, this expressive, seemingly pregnant female figure most likely represents a royal wide or mother. Wearing royal anklets, she shows the hand-to-chin gesture meant to temper speech in the presence of the fon, or king. A large square hold in the back suggests that this work may have been detached from a palace facade, or that it once contained empowering medicines.

    Provenance

    1970s, acquired by Gallery 43, London [see note]; November 25, 1977, sold by Gallery 43 to William and Bertha Teel, Marblehead, MA; 1991, partial gift of William and Bertha Teel to the MFA; 2014, acquired fully with the bequest of William Teel to the MFA. (Accession Dates: January 22, 1992 and February 26, 2014) NOTE: In a letter of December 16, 1977, Philip Goldman of Gallery 43 stated that he had “acquired [the figure] some years ago privately.”

    Credit Line

    Gift of William E. and Bertha L. Teel

    Details

    Dimensions

    93.98 cm (37 in.)

    Accession Number

    1991.1069

    Medium or Technique

    Wood, pigment, traces of red and white camwood powder

    On View

    Richard B. Carter Gallery (Gallery 171)

    Collections

    Africa and Oceania, Contemporary Art

    Classifications

    Sculpture

    More Info
  • Helmet mask

    Vai peoples
    late 19th to early 20th century
    Artist Unidentified

    Object Place: Sierra Leone

    Description

    Commissioned and worn by women, although carved by men, this mask was associated with the education and socialization of young Mende and Vai females, as supervised within the Sande society. Senior women wore these masks at the termination of initiation ceremonies in order to embody their patron spirit persona of fecundity and grace, known as Sowei. The high forehead, compressed triangular face, and voluminous neck rolls, the latter of which signifies both wealth and beauty, are characteristic. Carved from light bombax wood, the mask is blackened and oiled to approximate supple skin.

    Provenance

    Jean Fagalde, Liberia; sold by Fagalde to Michael Oliver, Inc., New York [see note 1]; sold by Michael Oliver to Bryce P. Holcombe (d. 1983), New York [see note 2]; probably acquired directly from Holcombe by Pace Primitive and Ancient Art, New York (stock no. 51-11883); April 5, 1989, sold by Pace Primitive to William and Bertha Teel, Marblehead, MA; 1992, partial gift of William and Bertha Teel to the MFA; 2014, acquired fully with the bequest of William Teel to the MFA. (Accession Dates: June 30, 1992 and February 26, 2014) NOTES: [1] Yale Van Rijn Archive of African Art, no. 0014565. [2] Director of Pace Primitive, New York, until his death. This mask was part of his private collection.

    Credit Line

    Gift of William E. and Bertha L. Teel

    Details

    Dimensions

    36.19 x 20.8 (width) x 27.3 (depth) cm (14 1/4 x 8 3/16 x 10 3/4 in.)

    Accession Number

    1992.401

    Medium or Technique

    Wood with black pigment and metal

    On View

    Richard B. Carter Gallery (Gallery 171)

    Collections

    Africa and Oceania

    Classifications

    Masks

    More Info
  • Altar (asen)

    African, Fon peoples, Republic of Benin
    mid-19th to early 20th century
    Artist Unidentified

    Object Place: Ouidah, Republic of Benin

    Description

    Forged iron staffs were placed in Fon family shrines as memorials to the dead. This example comes from Ouidah, an important coastal trading town. The platform tableau consists of a central figure with top hat and pipe, seated before a table arrayed with containers and flanked by sacrificial animals, French flags, and a cross. The central figure probably represents the special minister called Yovogan, who was named by King Guezo (1818-1858) to oversee foreigners and trading houses in Ouidah.

    Provenance

    January, 1989, collected in the Republic of Benin and acquired by Charles Davis, Davis Gallery, New Orleans; July, 1989, sold by Davis Gallery to William and Bertha Teel, Marblehead, MA; 1992, gift of William and Bertha Teel to the MFA. (Accession Date: June 30, 1992)

    Credit Line

    Gift of William E. and Bertha L. Teel

    Details

    Dimensions

    160.02 x 43.18 cm (63 x 17 in.)

    Accession Number

    1992.400

    Medium or Technique

    Iron, iron oxide encrustation

    On View

    Richard B. Carter Gallery (Gallery 171)

    Collections

    Africa and Oceania

    Classifications

    Religious and cult objects

    More Info
  • Attie figure

    African, Attie peoples, Côte d'Ivoire
    late 19th–20th century
    Artist Unidentified

    Place of Creation: Attie peoples, Côte d'Ivoire

    Description

    The Attie are a coastal Akan group in close contact with their Baule neighbors. This weathered figure was probably commissioned by a priest to represent an attendant of a deity and was housed in a shrine along with other sculptural works. While most African figures are carved from a single block of wood, this one has separate arms, pegged to the shoulders, which might be manipulated during rites. The outstretched hands suggest a supplicant’s gesture.

    Provenance

    Lucien van de Velde (dealer), Antwerp [see note]. May 20, 1983, sold by Alain de Monbrison (dealer), Paris, to William E. and Bertha L. Teel, Marblehead, MA; 1992, partial gift of William and Bertha Teel to the MFA; 2014, acquired fully with the bequest of William Teel to the MFA. (Accession Dates: June 30, 1992 and February 26, 2014) NOTE: Yale Van Rijn Archive of African Art, no. 0005155.

    Credit Line

    Gift of William E. and Bertha L. Teel

    Details

    Dimensions

    41.91 cm (16 1/2 in.)

    Accession Number

    1992.402

    Medium or Technique

    Wood

    Not On View

    Collections

    Africa and Oceania, Contemporary Art

    Classifications

    Sculpture

    More Info
  • Helmet Mask

    African, Bembe peoples, Democratic Republic of the Congo
    Artist Unidentified

    Description

    The Bembe, Buyu, and Lega share traditions as hunters, as well as socio-religious associations such as the Bwami grade society. Initiations in the male Alunga association were marked by the appearance of a masquerader in a spherical helmet mask of abstract conception. Carved from a single block of wood, the Janus faces are defined by huge concave pairs of whitened oval eyes with black, starlike pupils. Decorated with plumes, feathers, and raffia, these evoke the powerful spirit of the forest and are kept apart from the village women and children.

    Provenance

    April, 1976, sold by Jean Bonvin, Burundi, to William and Bertha Teel, Marblehead, MA; 1992, partial gift of William and Bertha Teel to the MFA; 2014, acquired fully with the bequest of William Teel to the MFA. (Accession Dates: June 30, 1992 and February 26, 2014)

    Credit Line

    Gift of William E. and Bertha L. Teel

    Details

    Dimensions

    35.56 x 33.02 cm (14 x 13 in.)

    Accession Number

    1992.403

    Medium or Technique

    Wood, pigments

    Not On View

    Collections

    Africa and Oceania

    Classifications

    Masks

    More Info
  • Mask (soko mutu)

    African, Hemba peoples, Democratic Republic of the Congo
    20th century
    Artist Unidentified

    Description

    Following a long mourning period, Hemba funeral rites marked the settlement of inheritances and the celebration of restored social balance. This mask, of a type known as soko mutu, was worn at such rites on the forehead or waist of a costumed performer. At other times it would be kept in a dwelling as a protective device. The combination of chimpanzee and human features alludes to other parallel and contrasting realms; the civilized and the untamed, the living and the dead. More humanized than many such works, the wide, threatening mouth is here balanced by the curving lines of brows and eyes.

    Provenance

    Emile Deletaille (dealer), Brussels. November, 1982, sold by Michael Oliver, Inc., New York to William and Bertha Teel, Marblehead, MA; 1992, partial gift of William and Bertha Teel to the MFA; 2014, acquired fully with the bequest of William Teel to the MFA. (Accession Dates: June 30, 1992 and February 26, 2014)

    Credit Line

    Gift of William E. and Bertha L. Teel

    Details

    Dimensions

    18.41 cm (7 1/4 in.) h x 5.75 in. w x 2.5 in. d

    Accession Number

    1992.407

    Medium or Technique

    Wood

    Not On View

    Collections

    Africa and Oceania, Contemporary Art

    Classifications

    Masks

    More Info
  • Container

    African, Mangbetu peoples, Democratic Republic of the Congo
    1890s

    Description

    Containers such as this one integrate human features into an elegant object of personal use. Superb craftsmanship affirmed the owner’s status, wealth, and aesthetic sense. Interlocking strips of bark form the central hollow core, while the wooden legs and uplifted face are carved in the round. Collected in the 1890s, it was formerly in the Hamburg collection of Umlauff, an importer and exhibitor of zoo animals who also brought an array of African groups to Europe to perform during that same period.

    Provenance

    1890s, acquired in Africa and became part of the collection of Firma J. F. G. Umlauff, Hamburg. Merton Simpson (dealer), New York. Thomas Alexander (dealer), St. Louis [see note]. June 10, 1988, sold by Maurice Bonnefoy (dealer), New York and Garennes-sur-Eure, France, to William and Bertha Teel, Marblehead, MA; 1992, partial gift of William and Bertha Teel to the MFA; 2014, acquired fully with the bequest of William Teel to the MFA. (Accession Dates: June 30, 1992 and February 26, 2014) NOTE: Yale Van Rijn Archive of African Art, no. 0028271.

    Credit Line

    Gift of William E. and Bertha L. Teel

    Details

    Dimensions

    39.37 cm (15 1/2 in.)

    Accession Number

    1992.408

    Medium or Technique

    Wood, bark, vegetable fiber

    Not On View

    Collections

    Africa and Oceania

    Classifications

    Boxes

    More Info
  • Mask (kifwebe)

    Songye peoples
    20th century
    Artist Unidentified

    Description

    Both Songye and Luba masking societies employed a dramatic mask called kifwebe, whose linear patterns are said to allude to history, power, and a constellation of other esoteric meanings. The aggressive Songye male type like this example has a sharp crest, protuberant angular features, and red coloring; the female type is round in shape and black in color. The overall incised and whitened striations on both types enhance their sculptural power.

    Provenance

    About 1914/1918, said to have been acquired in Africa and taken to Europe. Merton Simpson (dealer), New York. September 9, 1986, sold by Michael Oliver, Inc., New York, to William and Bertha Teel, Marblehead, MA; 1992, gift of William and Bertha Teel to the MFA. (Accession Date: September 26, 1992)

    Credit Line

    Gift of William E. and Bertha L. Teel

    Details

    Dimensions

    50.8 cm (20 in.)

    Accession Number

    1992.409

    Medium or Technique

    Wood, pigment, and hair

    On View

    Richard B. Carter Gallery (Gallery 171)

    Collections

    Africa and Oceania, Contemporary Art

    Classifications

    Masks

    More Info
  • Head crest in elephant form (ogbodo enyi)

    African, Igbo peoples, Nigeria
    20th century
    Artist Unidentified

    Description

    This type of mask called ogbodo enyi (spirit elephant) refers to the strength and endurance of this majestic animal. Elephants feature prominently in the thought of many African peoples and are often associated with political and spiritual power. In northeastern Igbo country, male members of associations that grouped men according to age wore elephant headpieces such as this one horizontally on top of their heads. They danced in fast-paced solo performances during annual festivals. The masquerade, which celebrated the contribution of different groups to the well being of the community, is primarily an entertainment today.

    Provenance

    June, 1979, collected in Doula, Cameroon and acquired by Charles Davis, the Gallery of Primitive Man, New Orleans; July 16, 1979, sold by the Gallery of Primitive Man to William and Bertha Teel, Marblehead, MA; 1992, partial gift of William and Bertha Teel to the MFA; 2014, acquired fully with the bequest of William Teel to the MFA. (Accession Dates: June 30, 1992 and February 26, 2014)

    Credit Line

    Gift of William E. and Bertha L. Teel

    Details

    Dimensions

    52.1 cm (20 1/2 in.)

    Accession Number

    1992.419

    Medium or Technique

    Wood and pigment

    Not On View

    Collections

    Africa and Oceania, Contemporary Art

    Classifications

    Masks

    More Info
  • Double mask (enyi ima)

    African, Eket peoples, Nigeria
    19th–20th century
    Artist Unidentified

    Object Place: Nigeria

    Description

    The round masks of the Eket are worn at funerals and agricultural festivals for the Ekong Society. Studies by anthropologists suggest that their shape may symbolize the moon. Double masks such as this one are rare.

    Provenance

    By 1979, Hubert Goldet (b. 1945 – d. 2000), Paris. 1992, sold by the Galerie Alain de Monbrison, Paris, to the MFA. (Accession Date: October 28, 1992)

    Credit Line

    Frank B. Bemis Fund

    Details

    Dimensions

    52.5 x 28 cm (20 11/16 x 11 in.)

    Accession Number

    1992.510

    Medium or Technique

    Wood, pigment, fiber

    On View

    Richard B. Carter Gallery (Gallery 171)

    Collections

    Africa and Oceania

    Classifications

    Masks

    More Info
  • Sakalava grave post

    Sakalava peoples
    19th–20th century
    Artist Unidentified

    Object Place: Vezo village, Madagascar

    Description

    Separated from the African continent by two-hundred-and-fifty-mile straits with powerful currents, Madagascar has a mixed population of Africans, Asians, and Arabs. Some Bantu speakers maintained family grave compounds where they erected large, wooden grave posts commonly called aloala, translated as “shadow of death.” These works are sometimes carved with geometric motifs that suggest Islamic influences; others show human figures whose proportions are more realistic than those of most African sculptures. This weathered female figure from the top of the Sakalava post has one arm bent behind her back and a raised face topped by a knobbed coiffure.

    Provenance

    May, 1972, sold by the Galerie Alain Schoffel, Paris, to William and Bertha Teel, Marblehead, MA; 1994, partial gift of William and Bertha Teel to the MFA; 2014, acquired fully with the bequest of William Teel to the MFA. (Accession Dates: January 26, 1994 and February 26, 2014)

    Credit Line

    Gift of William E. and Bertha L. Teel

    Details

    Dimensions

    83.82 cm (33 in.)

    Accession Number

    1994.395

    Medium or Technique

    Wood

    On View

    Richard B. Carter Gallery (Gallery 171)

    Collections

    Africa and Oceania

    Classifications

    Sculpture

    More Info
  • Bow harp

    African, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Zande peoples
    20th century

    Object Place: Democratic Republic of the Congo

    Description

    Musical instruments and other utilitarian and prestige objects were made and exchanged among the Azande and Mangbetu kingdoms of the northeastern Congo region. At court entertainments, itinerant minstrels and retainers played gracefully curved bow harps to accompany their stories, poems, and songs. This harp, with four tuning pegs to tighten the strings (now lost) to the leather sounding box, has a sculptured head that suggests an Azande origin. Larger instrumental forms such as drums and gongs were used to communicate between villages in the area.

    Provenance

    May 19, 1983, sold by Christine Schoffel (dealer), Paris, to William and Bertha Teel, Marblehead, MA; 1994, partial gift of William and Bertha Teel to the MFA; 2014, acquired fully with the bequest of William Teel to the MFA. (Accession Dates: January 26, 1994 and February 26, 2014)

    Credit Line

    Gift of William E. and Bertha L. Teel

    Details

    Dimensions

    32 in. d x 19 in. h x 8in. w

    Accession Number

    1994.401

    Medium or Technique

    Wood, leather, fiber

    Not On View

    Collections

    Africa and Oceania, Contemporary Art, Musical Instruments

    Classifications

    Musical instruments, Chordophones

    More Info
  • Mask

    African, Kom peoples, Cameroon
    20th century
    Artist Unidentified

    Object Place: Western Grassfields, Cameroon

    Description

    Interlocking spiders and chameleons surmount the gorilla head on this mask, worn in dances that stressed the power of the chief. The mask represents Mabu, one of the chief’s emissaries.

    Provenance

    April, 1984, collected in Cameroon. October, 1984, sold by Harris Brown Gallery, Boston, to William and Bertha Teel, Marblehead, MA; 1994, partial gift of William and Bertha Teel to the MFA; 2014, acquired fully with the bequest of William Teel to the MFA. (Accession Dates: January 26, 1994 and February 26, 2014)

    Credit Line

    Gift of William E. and Bertha L. Teel

    Details

    Dimensions

    38.73 cm (15 1/4 in.)

    Accession Number

    1994.402

    Medium or Technique

    Wood, pigment

    Not On View

    Collections

    Africa and Oceania, Contemporary Art

    Classifications

    Masks

    More Info
  • Stool

    African, Luba peoples, Democratic Republic of the Congo
    Late 19th to early 20th century

    Object Place: Democratic Republic of Congo (Zaire)

    Description

    The vital role of women in the structure and expansion of Luba influence is suggested by female caryatid stools, which may have featured centrally in investiture ceremonies. Women were linked to Luba legitimacy, and they served as emissaries to and diplomatic figures in surrounding chiefdoms when Luba suzerainty expanded over large parts of southeastern Congo. This kneeling figure’s polished form and quiet expression embody the serenity of a bearer of authority. The four-lobed coiffure and scarification are indicative of beauty and rank, while the enlarged hands are reminiscent of the Buli style.

    Provenance

    Bryce P. Holcombe (d. 1983), New York [see note]; to Pace Primitive and Ancient Art, New York (stock no. 51-7913); June 19, 1986, sold by Pace to William and Bertha Teel, Marblehead, MA; 1994, year-end gift of William and Bertha Teel to the MFA. (Accession Date: January 25, 1995) NOTE: Director of Pace Primitive and Ancient Art until his death in 1983.

    Credit Line

    Gift of William E. and Bertha L. Teel

    Details

    Dimensions

    43.18 cm (17 in.)

    Accession Number

    1994.405

    Medium or Technique

    Wood

    Not On View

    Collections

    Africa and Oceania

    Classifications

    Sculpture

    More Info
  • Male figure

    African, Mambila peoples, Cameroon
    20th century
    Artist Unidentified

    Description

    Provenance

    Sold from a private collection, Paris, to Michael Oliver, Inc., New York; September 9, 1986, sold by Michael Oliver to William and Bertha Teel, Marblehead, MA; 1994, partial gift of William and Bertha Teel to the MFA; 2014, acquired fully with the bequest of William Teel to the MFA. (Accession Dates: January 26, 1994 and February 26, 2014)

    Credit Line

    Gift of William E. and Bertha L. Teel

    Details

    Dimensions

    53.34 cm (21 in.)

    Accession Number

    1994.407

    Medium or Technique

    Wood, pigments

    Not On View

    Collections

    Africa and Oceania, Contemporary Art

    Classifications

    Sculpture

    More Info
  • Helmet mask (gipogo)

    Pende peoples
    19th–20th century
    Artist Unidentified

    Object Place: Democratic Republic of the Congo

    Description

    The eastern or Kasai Pende employed several large helmet masks associated with the power of the king and chiefs. This gipogo type appeared at village healing/nurturing rituals. A boldly carved, almost spherical form, it displays protruding features and a shelf like horizontal beard edged with diamond motifs similar to Chokwe and Kuba decoration. Black and white details highlight the dominant red color.

    Provenance

    Exchanged by a private collector with Maurice Bonnefoy (dealer), Paris and New York (stock no. 1204); November 9, 1987, sold by Bonnefoy to William and Bertha Teel, Marblehead, MA; 1994, partial gift of William and Bertha Teel to the MFA; 2014, acquired fully with the bequest of William Teel to the MFA. (Accession Dates: January 26, 1994 and February 26, 2014)

    Credit Line

    Gift of William E. and Bertha L. Teel

    Details

    Dimensions

    33.02 cm (13 in.)

    Accession Number

    1994.408

    Medium or Technique

    Wood, pigment

    Not On View

    Collections

    Africa and Oceania

    Classifications

    Masks

    More Info
  • Figure

    African, Hungaan peoples, Democratic Republic of the Congo
    20th century
    Artist Unidentified

    Object Place: Republic of Congo

    Description

    Neighbors of the Mbala, Yaka, and Pende, the Hungaan were renowned for their work in iron and ivory, but little is known about the function of their distinctive wood figures. Some may have been protective spirits; others may have had a role in healing practices. This figure on short thick legs displays a swelling body and raised arms supporting the chin and crested head. Graceful braids sweep down the back. The ears have holes for attachments, and some Hungana figures were augmented by figurines or amulets.

    Provenance

    First quarter of the 20th century until about 1978, said to have belonged to the family of a missionary, Belgium; about 1978, sold by this family to a private collector, Belgium. 1988, Marc Leo Felix (dealer), Brussels; May, 1988, sold by Felix to William and Bertha Teel, Marblehead, MA; 1994, partial gift of William and Bertha Teel to the MFA; 2014, acquired fully with the bequest of William Teel to the MFA. (Accession Dates: January 26, 1994 and February 26, 2014)

    Credit Line

    Gift of William E. and Bertha L. Teel

    Details

    Dimensions

    60.96 cm (24 in.)

    Accession Number

    1994.409

    Medium or Technique

    Wood, pigment

    On View

    Richard B. Carter Gallery (Gallery 171)

    Collections

    Africa and Oceania, Contemporary Art

    Classifications

    Sculpture

    More Info
  • Figure in the form of a hornbill (porpianong)

    Senufo peoples
    20th century
    Artist Unidentified

    Object Place: Cote d'Ivoire

    Description

    This large sculpture was borne aloft as an emblem of Poro society leadership during initiation rites. Sometimes called “the mother of Poro children,” it represents the hornbill, a bird that mates for life, one of the five Senufo primordial animals. The bold juxtaposition of shapes-flat rectangular wings, round swelling stomach, elongated neck and phallic beak-creates a compelling image. Polychroming is geometric on one wing, curvilinear on the other, and covers the back entirely. The holes in the wings accommodated cords to steady its movement, and the beak bears native metal repairs.

    Provenance

    J. J. Klejman (b. 1906 – d. 1995; dealer), New York. Private American collection. December 8, 1989, sold by Pace Primitive and Ancient Art, New York (stock no. 52-11952) to William and Bertha Teel, Marblehead, MA; 1994, year-end gift of William and Bertha Teel to the MFA. (Accession Date: January 25, 1995)

    Credit Line

    Gift of William E. and Bertha L. Teel

    Details

    Dimensions

    160 cm (63 in.)

    Accession Number

    1994.415

    Medium or Technique

    Wood, metal and pigment

    On View

    Richard B. Carter Gallery (Gallery 171)

    Collections

    Africa and Oceania, Contemporary Art

    Classifications

    Sculpture

    More Info
  • Power figure (nkishi)

    Songye peoples
    20th century
    Artist Unidentified

    Object Place: Democratic Republic of the Congo

    Description

    Songye power figures known as minkishi range from small, privately owned images to such large community guardians such as this expressive work. They are periodically brought forth and consecrated by the nganga (ritual specialist), who charges the potency of the medicinal-sacrosanct substances packed inside or appended to them. This massive elevated figure is festooned with metal facial attachments, necklaces of beads and skins, a wooden truncheon like pestle, and metal edging of the navel and cranial cavities. The work was brought to Belgium before 1918 by M. Reisdorf, envoy to Belgian Congo, and retained in the family collection.

    Provenance

    Before 1918, acquired in the Belgian Congo by M. Reisdorf, envoy to King Albert I, and passed by descent within his family, Belgium. April 4, 1989, sold by Marc Leo Felix (dealer), Brussels, to William and Bertha Teel, Marblehead, MA; 1994, partial gift of William and Bertha Teel to the MFA; 2014, acquired fully with the bequest of William Teel to the MFA. (Accession Dates: January 26, 1994 and February 26, 2014)

    Credit Line

    Gift of William E. and Bertha L. Teel

    Details

    Dimensions

    60.96 cm (24 in.)

    Accession Number

    1994.413

    Medium or Technique

    Wood, metal, fiber, leather, beads, skin

    On View

    Richard B. Carter Gallery (Gallery 171)

    Collections

    Africa and Oceania, Contemporary Art

    Classifications

    Sculpture

    More Info
  • Mask

    African, Igbo peoples, Nigeria
    20th century
    Artist Unidentified

    Object Place: Nigeria

    Description

    Masking forms were often exchanged and assimilated among the Igbo, Idoma, and their neighbors. Idoma mask identities also sometimes vacillated from village to village, the roles changing with each performance. This originally white-faced mask is notable for its near-perfect symmetry: matching keloids on the cheeks, a vertical forehead mark extending down the nose, and blackened lips outlining the teeth.

    Provenance

    Bryce Holcombe (d. 1983), New York [see note]; February, 1989, sold by Pace Primitive and Ancient Art, New York, to William and Bertha Teel, Marblehead, MA; 1994, partial gift of William and Bertha Teel to the MFA; 2014, acquired fully with the bequest of William Teel to the MFA. (Accession Dates: January 26, 1994 and February 26, 2014) NOTE: Holcombe was the director of Pace Primitive and Ancient Art until his death in 1983.

    Credit Line

    Gift of William E. and Bertha L. Teel

    Details

    Dimensions

    40.64 cm (16 in.)

    Accession Number

    1994.412

    Medium or Technique

    Wood, pigment

    Not On View

    Collections

    Africa and Oceania, Contemporary Art

    Classifications

    Masks

    More Info
  • Head crest in the form of serpents

    African, Bamana peoples, Mali
    20th century
    Artist Unidentified

    Description

    This vertical head crest is linked to a dance called nama tyétyé performed by secular village associations called Ton, which concern themselves with success in agriculture and encourage their young members to become good farmers. Part of masquerades during these Ton dances, head dresses often represent animals whose characteristics provide opportunities for moral lessons about human behavior. This zigzag serpentine form is said to refer to the deviousness of the hyena (nama), an animal also associated with imperfect knowledge.

    Provenance

    June, 1990, sold by Pace Primitive and Ancient Art, New York (stock no. 53-0150), to William and Bertha Teel, Marblehead, MA; 1994, partial gift of William and Bertha Teel to the MFA; 2014, acquired fully with the bequest of William Teel to the MFA. (Accession Dates: January 26, 1994 and February 26, 2014)

    Credit Line

    Gift of William E. and Bertha L. Teel

    Details

    Dimensions

    55.88 cm (22 in.)

    Accession Number

    1994.416

    Medium or Technique

    Wood, fiber

    Not On View

    Collections

    Africa and Oceania

    Classifications

    Sculpture

    More Info
  • Carved stone (atal or akwanshi)

    African, Cross River region, Nigeria
    18th–19th century
    Artist Unidentified

    Object Place: Cross River area, Nigeria

    Description

    Sculpture in hard stone is somewhat rare in sub-Saharan Africa, yet some three hundred have been documented in the forested region of the middle Cross River. About forty groupings, often set up in the center of a village, are known to the present inhabitants. The Ejagham (or Ekoi) call them akwanshi (dead person in the ground); Bakon-speakers call the monoliths atal (the stone). The ovoid forms were carved out of volcanic boulders by grinding or pecking with stone tools to leave raised features of a human face and simplified body. A long, raised nose divides this symmetrical face. Beneath the brow, the circular eyes are emphasized by hatched borders, from which tearlike bands or keliods extend down the cheeks toward the open mouth. A V-shaped jaw or beard line points down toward the prominent ringed navel.

    Provenance

    Early 20th century, said to have come from the Pitt-Rivers Museum, Farnham, England. December 3, 1991, anonymous sale, Christie's, London, lot 86, to William and Bertha Teel, Marblehead, MA; 1994, gift of William and Bertha Teel to the MFA. (Accession Date: January 25, 1995)

    Credit Line

    Gift of William E. and Bertha L. Teel

    Details

    Dimensions

    73.66 cm (29 in.)

    Accession Number

    1994.419

    Medium or Technique

    Basalt

    On View

    Richard B. Carter Gallery (Gallery 171)

    Collections

    Africa and Oceania

    Classifications

    Sculpture

    More Info
  • Mask (deangle)

    African, Dan peoples, Liberia / Côte d'Ivoire
    20th century
    Artist Unidentified

    Description

    Masks appear among the Dan for both entertainments and as materialized symbols of spirit powers for adjudication and social control. Originally owned by individual families, masks were given specific names and promoted or demoted according to the wearer’s status. This deangle mask represents a female forest spirit, with its oval face, slit eyes, full lips, and smooth surface suggesting an ideal of beauty. The headdress with cowries is but one part of the masquerade costume that consists of a tall fabric cap, colorful cape, and raffia skirt.

    Provenance

    By 1974, with Pace Primitive and Ancient Art, New York; June 1, 1992, sold by Pace Primitive and Ancient Art (stock no. 51-01931) to William and Bertha Teel, Marblehead, MA; 1994, year-end gift of William and Bertha Teel to the MFA. (Accession Date: January 25, 1995)

    Credit Line

    Gift of William E. and Bertha L. Teel

    Details

    Dimensions

    41.9 cm (16 1/2 in.)

    Accession Number

    1994.420

    Medium or Technique

    Wood, vegetable fiber, shell

    On View

    Richard B. Carter Gallery (Gallery 171)

    Collections

    Africa and Oceania, Contemporary Art

    Classifications

    Masks

    More Info
  • Male figure (ikenga)

    African, Igbo peoples, Aguleri-Nteje region, Nigeria
    about 1910
    Artist Oroma Etiti Anam (Nigerian (Igbo peoples) Nigerian (Igbo peoples))

    Description

    Provenance

    1977, published [see note]. June, 1992, sold by Pace Primitive and Ancient Art, New York, to William and Bertha Teel, Marblehead, MA; 1994, gift of William and Bertha Teel to the MFA. (Accession Date: January 25, 1995) NOTE: An in-situ photograph was published by J. S. Boston, "Ikenga Figures among the North-West Igbo and Igala," 1977, p. 61, but without a specific date.

    Credit Line

    Gift of William E. and Bertha L. Teel

    Details

    Dimensions

    109.22 cm (43 in.)

    Accession Number

    1994.421

    Medium or Technique

    Wood and pigment

    On View

    Richard B. Carter Gallery (Gallery 171)

    Collections

    Africa and Oceania

    Classifications

    Sculpture

    More Info
  • Cup

    African, Kuba peoples, Democratic Republic of the Congo
    19th–early 20th century

    Object Place: Lower Kasai region, Zaire

    Description

    Titles and status in the elaborate Kuba court structure were signified by prestige objects of handsome form and intricate detail, such as this vessel used for drinking palm wine. The head shown on the cup bears delicate geometric bands and a matched coiffure, the small face is enhanced by a copper strip and sweeping coiffure edges identified with the Ngeende sub-style. Such cups were often carved to order by specialized artists.

    Provenance

    Jos Walschaerts (dealer; d. 1982), Antwerp. August 5, 1992, sold by Marc Leo Felix (dealer), Brussels, to William and Bertha Teel, Marblehead, MA; 1994, partial gift of William and Bertha Teel to the MFA; 2014, acquired fully with the bequest of William Teel to the MFA. (Accession Dates: January 26, 1994 and February 26, 2014)

    Credit Line

    Gift of William E. and Bertha L. Teel

    Details

    Dimensions

    22.86 cm (9 in.)

    Accession Number

    1994.423

    Medium or Technique

    Wood, copper, porcelain

    Not On View

    Collections

    Africa and Oceania, Contemporary Art

    Classifications

    Decorative arts

    More Info
  • Helmet Mask

    Mende peoples
    Artist Unidentified

    Object Place: Sierra Leone

    Description

    Provenance

    1996, gift of Landon and Lavinia Clay to the MFA. (Accession Date: June 26, 1996)

    Credit Line

    Gift of Landon and Lavinia Clay

    Details

    Dimensions

    40.64 x 20.32 x 22.86 cm (16 x 8 x 9 in.)

    Accession Number

    1996.121

    Medium or Technique

    Wood, vegetable fiber

    Not On View

    Collections

    Africa and Oceania

    Classifications

    Masks

    More Info
  • Chi Wara Headcrest

    African, Bamana peoples, Mali
    mid 20th century
    Artist Unidentified

    Object Place: Mali

    Description

    The Bamana Ci wara association with which this work is identified celebrates the vital spirit of agriculture and, by extension, the fruitfulness of both the earth and humans and the ideas of regeneration. Antelope headdresses, which like nearly all Bamana wood carvings are made by blacksmiths, appear as male and female pairs at sowing and at harvest competitions, as well as at marriages. The female here displays a baby on its back, a feature typical of the type. Affixed to basketry caps, both horizontal and vertical genres exhibit stylized pierced shapes with degrees of abstraction, and are best seen in profile.

    Provenance

    March 11, 1978, sold by the Gallery of Primitive Man, New Orleans, to William and Bertha Teel, Marblehead, MA; 1996, partial gift of William and Bertha Teel to the MFA; 2014, acquired fully with the bequest of William Teel to the MFA. (Accession Dates: December 18, 1996 and February 26, 2014)

    Credit Line

    Gift of William E. and Bertha L. Teel

    Details

    Dimensions

    53 x 60 cm (21 x 24 in.)

    Accession Number

    1996.369

    Medium or Technique

    Wood, fiber

    Not On View

    Collections

    Africa and Oceania, Contemporary Art

    Classifications

    Sculpture

    More Info
  • Female Figure

    African, Chamba peoples, Nigeria / Cameroon
    20th century
    Artist Unidentified

    Description

    Provenance

    Jean Willy Mestach, Brussels. Dierickx (dealer), Brussels. William S. Rubin (b. 1927 - d. 2006), New York. July 26, 1982, sold by Michael Oliver, Inc., New York to William and Bertha Teel, Marblehead, MA; 1996, partial gift of William and Bertha Teel to the MFA; 2014, acquired fully with the bequest of William Teel to the MFA. (Accession Dates: December 18, 1996 and February 26, 2014)

    Credit Line

    Gift of William E. and Bertha L. Teel

    Details

    Dimensions

    60.96 cm (24 in.)

    Accession Number

    1996.370

    Medium or Technique

    Wood

    Not On View

    Collections

    Africa and Oceania

    Classifications

    Sculpture

    More Info
  • Seated female figure (jonyeleni)

    African, Bamana peoples, Mali
    20th century
    Artist Unidentified

    Description

    Featured in Jo and Gwan society events linked to initiation, healing, and social responsibilities, idealized female figures such as this one vary in size and style, from geometric angularity to more rounded forms. This seated figure with appended earrings and beads is probably from the Segou region, though it is less elongated than some others. It shows the characteristic pointed breasts with scarification, paddlelike hands and arrow-shaped nose. Geometric incising bands the face and defines the surface of the coiffure.

    Provenance

    Ralph Nash, London. Simone de Monbrison (dealer), Paris. Lee Bronson, Los Angeles. October 5, 1983, sold by Pace Primitive and Ancient Art, New York (stock no. 51-4883) to William and Bertha Teel, Marblehead, MA; 1996, partial gift of William and Bertha Teel to the MFA; 2014, acquired fully with the bequest of William Teel to the MFA. (Accession Dates: December 18, 1996 and February 26, 2014) NOTE: Provenance information was provided by Pace Gallery at the time of the Teels' purchase.

    Credit Line

    Gift of William E. and Bertha L. Teel

    Details

    Dimensions

    45.72 cm (18 in.)

    Accession Number

    1996.371

    Medium or Technique

    Wood, beads, and metal

    On View

    Richard B. Carter Gallery (Gallery 171)

    Collections

    Africa and Oceania

    Classifications

    Sculpture

    More Info
  • Male Figure

    African, Fang peoples, Gabon
    20th century
    Artist Unidentified

    Description

    Fang beliefs honor the preeminence of clan elders and the vital powers of those now deceased. While the muscular, blackened Fang reliquary figures are well known, this pair, carved from a light wood and bearing traces of white kaolin, is slender and sticklike. The figures probably served as protective images for a family or village near the Cameroon-Gabon border. The heart-shaped face that recurs throughout the equatorial region has, in this case, been defined by lightly incised features.

    Provenance

    October 5, 1983, sold by Pace Primitive and Ancient Art, New York (stock no. 51-5878) to William and Bertha Teel, Marblehead, MA; 1996, partial gift of William and Bertha Teel to the MFA; 2014, acquired fully with the bequest of William Teel to the MFA. (Accession Dates: December 18, 1996 and February 26, 2014)

    Credit Line

    Gift of William E. and Bertha L. Teel

    Details

    Dimensions

    16 1/4 in. h x 3.5 w x 2.5 d

    Accession Number

    1996.372

    Medium or Technique

    Wood, pigments

    Not On View

    Collections

    Africa and Oceania

    Classifications

    Sculpture

    More Info
  • Female figure

    African, Malinke peoples, Mali
    20th century
    Artist Unidentified

    Description

    Living near the Bamana in southern Mali, the Malinke carve figures and masks that closely resemble those of their neighbors. This small, delicately carved figure standing on a domed base bears intricate geometric incising. A visual tension is created between the round crested head with its heart-shaped face and the vertical body with its scarification. Such figures, sometimes called dyonyeni, are thought to be idealized expressions of women and were displayed at Jo society events, among other contexts.

    Provenance

    Dr. Helen Kuhn, Los Angeles. April, 1984, sold by Pace Primitive and Ancient Art, New York (stock no. 51-4968), to William and Bertha Teel, Marblehead, MA; 1996, partial gift of William and Bertha Teel to the MFA; 2014, acquired fully with the bequest of William Teel to the MFA. (Accession Dates: December 18, 1996 and February 26, 2014)

    Credit Line

    Gift of William E. and Bertha L. Teel

    Details

    Dimensions

    54.61 cm (21 1/2 in.)

    Accession Number

    1996.374

    Medium or Technique

    Wood

    Not On View

    Collections

    Africa and Oceania

    Classifications

    Sculpture

    More Info
  • Seated female figure

    Senufo peoples
    20th century
    Artist Unidentified

    Object Place: Cote d'Ivoire

    Description

    In the widespread villages of the Senufo, a female association called Sandogo promotes women’s knowledge of healing, divination, and social order. Sculptures such as this one were featured in funeral rites and other ceremonies that promoted social cohesion. This figure, carried in funerary processions by an elderly female, shows a woman seated on a birthing stool and bearing on her head another stool that may symbolize the rebirth of her spirit in the next world.

    Provenance

    1905, said to have been received as a gift in Tunisia by an American physician; until about 1993, by descent to his granddaughter; about 1993, sold by the granddaughter to Pace Primitive and Ancient Art, New York (stock no. 51-5993); September 19, 1994, sold by Pace Primitive and Ancient Art to William and Bertha Teel, Marblehead, MA; 1996, partial gift of William and Bertha Teel to the MFA; 2014, acquired fully with the bequest of William Teel to the MFA. (Accession Dates: December 18, 1996 and February 26, 2014)

    Credit Line

    Gift of William E. and Bertha L. Teel

    Details

    Dimensions

    53.34 cm (21 in.)

    Accession Number

    1996.375

    Medium or Technique

    Wood

    Not On View

    Collections

    Africa and Oceania, Contemporary Art

    Classifications

    Sculpture

    More Info
  • Female Figure

    African, Chokwe peoples, Angola
    20th century
    Artist Unidentified

    Description

    Provenance

    19th century, said to have been acquired in Africa by a member of a missionary expedition and became part of a private collection, Portugal. 1984, sold by Marc Leo Felix (dealer), Brussels, to William and Bertha Teel, Marblehead, MA; 1996, partial gift of William and Bertha Teel to the MFA; 2014, acquired fully with the bequest of William Teel to the MFA. (Accession Dates: December 18, 1996 and February 26, 2014)

    Credit Line

    Gift of William E. and Bertha L. Teel

    Details

    Dimensions

    9 1/2 in. h x 3.5 in. d x 3 in. w

    Accession Number

    1996.376

    Medium or Technique

    Wood

    Not On View

    Collections

    Africa and Oceania

    Classifications

    Sculpture

    More Info
  • Male figure (ofika)

    Mbole peoples
    20th century
    Artist Unidentified

    Object Place: Democratic Republic of the Congo

    Description

    Provenance

    About 1985, sold by Pace Primitive and Ancient Art, New York (stock no. 51-5992) to William and Bertha Teel, Marblehead, MA; 1996, partial gift of William and Bertha Teel to the MFA; 2014, acquired fully with the bequest of William Teel to the MFA. (Accession Dates: December 18, 1996 and February 26, 2014)

    Credit Line

    Gift of William E. and Bertha L. Teel

    Details

    Dimensions

    46.99 cm (18 1/2 in.)

    Accession Number

    1996.377

    Medium or Technique

    Wood, pigments

    Not On View

    Collections

    Africa and Oceania

    Classifications

    Sculpture

    More Info
  • Female figure

    Toma peoples
    19th–20th century
    Artist Unidentified

    Object Place: Guinea

    Description

    This is a rare example of stone figurative sculpture from the Toma people, who inhabit the border region of Guinea and Liberia, where they are called Loma. It is identified as Toma primarily by the simplified face, of which the flat ovoid plane, short nose, slit eyes, and ridged brow appear on Toma wooden masks. While these latter are common to the Poro men’s society, figurative sculpture was privately owned and associated with divination or protection against sorcery. Alternatively, this statue may derive from the practice of neighboring Kissi and others, who unearthed small steatite human images while farming and look on them as ancient reminders of their forefathers.

    Provenance

    July 8, 1985, sold by Michael Oliver Inc. Ethnographic Art, New York, to William and Bertha Teel, Marblehead, MA; 1996, partial gift of William and Bertha Teel to the MFA; 2014, acquired fully with the bequest of William Teel to the MFA. (Accession Dates: December 18, 1996 and February 26, 2014)

    Credit Line

    Gift of William E. and Bertha L. Teel

    Details

    Dimensions

    10 1/2 in. h x 4.75 in. w x 3.75 in. d

    Accession Number

    1996.378

    Medium or Technique

    Stone, cloth

    Not On View

    Collections

    Africa and Oceania, Contemporary Art

    Classifications

    Sculpture

    More Info
  • Mask (Goli)

    African, Baule, Cote d'Ivoire
    20th century
    Artist Unidentified

    Description

    The Baule assimilated a number of their neighbors’ masquerade forms: a naturalistic face mask, a horned helmet mask, and a flat circular mask called kple kple. The last of these, a male mask of junior rank, is one of several paired works that would perform sequentially in Goli society entertainments or funerals. It impersonates an unruly nature spirit that is considered to be both frightening and amusing. The flat, disk-shaped face with ringed eyes and rectangular mouth is surmounted by ears and large curving horns. The bold red coloring has contrasting touches of white, while the complementary female mask would be painted black.

    Provenance

    Private collection, Paris. Alain de Monbrison (dealer), Paris. Merton Simpson (dealer), New York. June 11, 1990, sold by Tambaran Gallery, New York, to William and Bertha Teel, Marblehead, MA; 1996, partial gift of William and Bertha Teel to the MFA; 2014, acquired fully with the bequest of William Teel to the MFA. (Accession Dates: December 18, 1996 and February 26, 2014)

    Credit Line

    Gift of William E. and Bertha L. Teel

    Details

    Dimensions

    72.39 cm (28 1/2 in.)

    Accession Number

    1996.382

    Medium or Technique

    Wood, pigments

    Not On View

    Collections

    Africa and Oceania

    Classifications

    Masks

    More Info
  • Mask (mwana pwo)

    African, Chokwe peoples, Angola
    20th century
    Artist Unidentified

    Description

    This female mask, called mwana pwo, was identified with beauty, fertility, and other qualities. Softly modeled with an open mouth, slit eyes in oval sockets, and delicate scarification, the mask’s male dancer would have worn a costume of a skirt, feathers, and false breasts. The mask is sometimes a dialogue with a male mask, called cihongo, which is emblematic of strength and wealth. The pair appears in itinerant performances that travel from village to village.

    Provenance

    Said to have belonged to Mr. Quintin, a Belgian territorial agent. October 22, 1986, sold by Marc Leo Felix (dealer), Brussels, to William and Bertha Teel, Marblehead, MA; 1996, partial gift of William and Bertha Teel to the MFA; 2014, acquired fully with the bequest of William Teel to the MFA. (Accession Dates: December 18, 1996 and February 26, 2014)

    Credit Line

    Gift of William E. and Bertha L. Teel

    Details

    Dimensions

    19.05 cm (7 1/2 in.)

    Accession Number

    1996.379

    Medium or Technique

    Wood, fiber, metal, and pigment

    Not On View

    Collections

    Africa and Oceania

    Classifications

    Masks

    More Info
  • Male figure

    African, Jukun peoples, Nigeria
    19th–20th century
    Artist Unidentified

    Object Place: Nigeria

    Description

    The Jukun are thought to be descendants of the Kororofa, a regional state that lasted from the fourteenth to eighteenth centuries. For coronations of Jukun kings and other ceremonies, paired figures were brought from shrines to receive prayers and offerings for the well-being of the community. This embodiment of a lineage founder has abbreviated legs, hands on the hips of a cylindrical torso, and an overhanging facial plane marked by large ear ornaments and metal eyes. The surface of the hard wood is unpatinated and weathered.

    Provenance

    By 1976, with Pace Primitive and Ancient Art, New York; March, 1991, sold by Pace to William and Bertha Teel, Marblehead, MA; 1996, partial gift of William and Bertha Teel to the MFA; 2014, acquired fully with the bequest of William Teel to the MFA. (Accession Dates: December 18, 1996 and February 26, 2014)

    Credit Line

    Gift of William E. and Bertha L. Teel

    Details

    Dimensions

    72.39 cm (28 1/2 in.)

    Accession Number

    1996.384

    Medium or Technique

    Wood, metal

    Not On View

    Collections

    Africa and Oceania, Contemporary Art

    Classifications

    Sculpture

    More Info
  • Head

    Sapi peoples
    In the style of 16th century
    Artist Unidentified

    Object Place: Sierra Leone

    Description

    Life-size heads such as this one have sometimes been called mahena yafe (spirit of the chief) by the Mende, who unearthed them in the course of farming, then preserved and venerated them. Evidence suggests that these, like smaller steatite figures, were fashioned by the Sapi people who inhabited the region when Portuguese navigators explored the coast. The handsome Afro-Portuguese ivories of this era are credited to Sapi artists as well. The coarse grey texture bears tan discolorations and scattered abrasions. Because the Sapi kingdoms were terminated by Mande invasions in the sixteenth century, these heads are often dated to about 1500. The rings on the nose and ears may be marks of status. The heavy-lidded eyes, wide mouth, and pointed teeth add to the aggressive appearance.

    Provenance

    1991, acquired in Sierra Leone by Charles Davis, Davis Gallery, New Orleans; February 11, 1992, sold by Davis Gallery to William and Bertha Teel, Marblehead, MA; 1996, partial gift of William and Bertha Teel to the MFA; 2014, acquired fully with the bequest of William Teel to the MFA. (Accession Dates: December 18, 1996 and February 26, 2014)

    Credit Line

    Gift of William E. and Bertha L. Teel

    Details

    Dimensions

    25.4 cm (10 in.)

    Accession Number

    1996.385

    Medium or Technique

    Stone

    Not On View

    Collections

    Africa and Oceania

    Classifications

    Sculpture

    More Info

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