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HOME : African & Tribal Art : Masterpieces of African Art : Attye Wooden Sculpture of a Seated Man
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Attye Wooden Sculpture of a Seated Man - PF.6014
Origin: Ivory Coast
Circa: 20th th Century AD
Dimensions: 12.25" (31.1cm) high
Collection: African
Medium: Wood

Location: United States
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The Attye people are one of the major tribes that inhabit the Lagoon region of the southeastern Ivory Coast. Artistically, they are heavily indebted to their neighbors, the Baule. This sculpture depicts a man seated upon a throne, the penultimate symbol of authority in Africa. This fact, coupled with the woven cap that crowns his head, suggest that this figure represents a high-ranking individual within the elite class of Attye society. His clasped hands, with holes running through them, imply that certain objects were once attached and completed the regalia. Perhaps he once held a staff or spear of some sort, both also symbols of rank and rulership within African society. The sculptor has also paid careful attention to a decorative sash of cowrie shells that crossed his torso. This wonderfully rendered ornament may be based on and actual piece of jewelry that would have been associated with the depicted individual. This sculpture probably commemorates a deceased ancestor who was continually adulated in the form of this work of art. In a society void of photography, sculptures were used to memorialize and honor the dead. In fact, the deceased were believed to play an active role in the lives of their descendents from beyond the grave. Thus such a work is not just a passive record of an individual but an active tool through with the favor of the deceased’s spirit can be influenced for the benevolence of the entire community. - (PF.6014)


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