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HOME : African & Tribal Art : Yaka, Teke : Teke Wooden Butti Ancestor Sculpture
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Teke Wooden Butti Ancestor Sculpture - PF.3601
Origin: Western Congo
Circa: 20 th Century AD
Dimensions: 14" (35.6cm) high x 4.625" (11.7cm) wide
Collection: African
Medium: Wood and Textiles

Location: United States
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This specific type of sculpture is called butti. Carvings of butti bear facial scarification patterns identical to those of Teke men. They gain power by the addition of organic material, bonga, placed in a hollow cavity of the body or encased in a mantle of clay that covers all but the head and the legs. The figures are individually owned and serve protective or healing functions.

Wearing a loincloth, this wonderful standing male figure rests his hands gently on his belly. Standing on large, minimally carved legs, he seems serene and meditative. His hair is styled in the center of his head and his face shows a distinct scarification pattern and a beard. His arms, kept close to his torso, show small holes that suggest that this figure once had bonga attached for attribution of healing and protective power. Although the organic materials are lost now, the power seems to have remained in the sculpture. It emanates a mysteriously spiritual essence that even the modern viewers cannot escape. Privately owned for wishing well in ancient times, this precious sculpture would no doubt benevolently protect whoever owns it.
- (PF.3601)


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