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HOME : African & Tribal Art : Masterpieces of African Art : Bassa Wooden Sculpture of a Seated Woman
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Bassa Wooden Sculpture of a Seated Woman - PF.4803 (LSO)
Origin: Central Liberia
Circa: 18 th Century AD to 19 th Century AD
Dimensions: 13" (33.0cm) high
Catalogue: V26
Collection: African
Style: Bassa
Medium: Wood


Location: UAE
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Description
This remarkable sculpture of a seated woman was made by the Bassa people of Liberia. It is carved with outstanding dynamism, with strong facial features, powerful shoulders and naturalistic proportions and detailing of the limbs. The head is exceptionally well rendered and looking slightly upwards. The eyes are large and wide open, the nose protuberant and the mouth gaping, with serrated lips and sharp, pointed teeth. The coiffure is multi-lobed, with large, hollow ears. The face and forehead is decorated with banded and triangular relief lines denoting keloid scarifications. This is continued on the torso, with a triangular keloid on the abdomen and linear decorations elsewhere. The breasts are small and protuberant. Despite being female, the figure emanates a decidedly masculine presence that is almost menacing. Condition is good, as the piece is carved from a very dense and heavy wood; the soles of the feet have been slightly eroded with age.

The Bassa of Central Liberia are an agricultural group whose economy is based upon rice and related crops. Their society is governed by the “No” men’s society, and more general aspects of their culture are similar to their major influence – the Dan. They are renowned for their Gela masks, which are worn in the manner of women during ceremonies celebrating the visits of dignitaries and the end of initiation ceremonies. They are also known for stools and dog figures, the significance of which is unknown.

This is an exceptional and rare piece, and a unique Bassa masterwork. - (PF.4803 (LSO))

 

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