Barakat Gallery
Login | Register | User Services | Search | Newsletter Sign-up
Barakat Gallery
HOME : African & Tribal Art : Dakakari : African Art / Dakakari Terracotta Sculpture of a Goat
Click to view original image.
African Art / Dakakari Terracotta Sculpture of a Goat - PF.5137 (LSO)
Origin: Northern Nigeria
Circa: 1500 AD to 1800 AD
Dimensions: 18.5" (47.0cm) high x 5.5" (14.0cm) wide
Collection: African
Medium: Terracotta

Location: United States
Currency Converter
Place On Hold
Ask a Question
Email to a Friend
Previous Item
Next Item
Photo Gallery
Click photo to change image.
Print image
This schematic rendering of a goat was made by the Dakakari people. It is a large-bodied creature, with long legs, a short neck, an upturned face, pointed horns and sectorial limbs that are marked with bands of decorated clay. The face is flat, and thus not at all naturalistic and even appears to have some human characteristics. There is a ridge down to the tail from the centre of the back. The clay is pale in colour, and very hard-fired. There are some remnants of pigment here and there on the body. The position of the feet indicates that it may once have been attached to a spherical vessel; the reason for this is explained below.

The Dakakiri peoples of NW Nigeria are a little-studied group that are primarily known for their unusual funerary traditions. The standard practice was to bury individuals with a range of plain pottery for their use in the afterlife. However, it is the burials of the higher status individuals from the tribe – including their chiefs and their retinue – that give rise to the production of the Dakakiri’s major contribution to the corpus of African art history. Prestige individuals are buried in stone-lined shaft tombs; the sealed tops of these tombs are ringed around with stone walls to create a small enclosure.

Skilled potters are then commissioned to create sculptural vessels, with plain, spherical bases that are buried into the underlying soil, and with anthropomorphic or zoomorphic superstructures that commemorate the deceased. The deceased are venerated annually by pouring libations of maize flour or beer over the pots. The trade was usually kept within families; experience was all-important – the most prestigious potters were often post-menopausal women. Every person who dies in an elite family has another piece – or pieces – dedicated to them and placed within the superstructure over time, these collections can build up considerably, marking the development of the family throughout generations.

Goats were the staple diet for many of these groups, but the human characteristics of the face make this interpretation somewhat staid. It is likely to have performed some ritual of even just affectionate function for the dead. This is a rare and important piece of African art.

- (PF.5137 (LSO))


Home About Us Help Contact Us Services Publications Search
Terms and Conditions Privacy Policy Security

Copyright (c) 2000-2023 by Barakat, Inc. All Rights Reserved - TEL 310.859.8408 - FAX 310.276.1346

coldfusion hosting