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HOME : African & Tribal Art : Anyi, Attye, Lagoons Region : Anyi Colonial Sculpture of a Mother and Child
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Anyi Colonial Sculpture of a Mother and Child - PF.4902
Origin: Southeastern Ivory Coast
Circa: 20 th Century AD
Dimensions: 14.5" (36.8cm) high x 5" (12.7cm) wide
Collection: African
Medium: Wood and Paint

Location: Great Britain
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The personification of motherhood in art is a very important theme of African artists. A sculpture such as this delightful female was not made simply for the purpose of objective representation, but as an object with a life of its own. It is both aesthetically pleasing and also didactic; serving as a role model for young mothers, and an inspiration for mothers-to-be. Though paint was introduced by the Europeans, the African artist used it in a most extraordinary way, placing an emphasis on cultural ideas and concepts rather than realism. The brilliant red of the girl's skin is symbolic of sexuality, and especially the coming of age of young women. Despite having had a child, she is still sexually attractive and highly fertile, thus promising many more children. Her extended breasts further emphasize this point, and add a delightful detail in the suckling child who is obviously enjoying his mother's milk. There is compassion and tenderness in this sculpture, and we can easily imagine the sculptor himself was a proud father. - (PF.4902)


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