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HOME : Decorative Arts : African Sculptures : Sculpture of a Man with One Hand Raised
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Sculpture of a Man with One Hand Raised - MT.0276 (LSO)
Origin: West Africa
Circa: 20 th Century AD

Collection: African Art
Medium: Terracotta

Location: United States
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This amusing piece poses a quandary as it is so unusual that it cannot be reliably linked to any specific tribal group. Minor details, however, can be thus linked. For instance, the beard is similar to those of Dogon pieces, the face shape of the Chokwe, while the droopy eyes are reminiscent of Pende masks. The triangular pendant is fairly universal (perhaps Malian?), and while armlets such as this have been noted in the ancient Bankoni group, they went on to be a marker of high status in numerous other populations. The pose is also peculiar – African statues are usually monolithic in terms of stance, and while some are dynamically carved they do not usually demonstrate anything approaching this somewhat anecdotal posture. The fact that the comparatively large genitalia are exposed is unusual, for these are usually hidden or only hinted at by the sculptor, given their social impact.

Whatever its significance, however, it is a charming and amusing piece of African art.

- (MT.0276 (LSO))


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