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Female figure
Date: 19th to early 20th century
Medium: Wood, encrustation
Dimensions: H x W x D: 37 x 8.5 x 8.5 cm (14 9/16 x 3 3/8 x 3 3/8 in.)
Credit Line: Gift of Walt Disney World Co., a subsidiary of The Walt Disney Company
Geography: Mali
Object Number: 2005-6-41
Search Terms:
Shrine/Altar
Fertility
female
Exhibited: Visionary: Viewpoints on Africa's Arts

While the body and lip plug of this figure are typical of Dogon female figures, the multiheaded form suggests the fluid nature of the nommo, the primordial spiritual beings that are the focus of Dogon cosmology. The disk on top of the heads serves as an altar surface for libations and recalls the form of the Dogon stool (see 2005-6-40). This type of figure may have been commissioned by a lineage group to defend the family--the heads are gazing in all directions--and testify to the value of family harmony.

Wood standing female figure with eleven heads and an overall encrusted surface.

Werner Muensterberger, New York, before 1966


Visionary: Viewpoints on Africa's Arts, National Museum of African Art, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C., November 4, 2017-ongoing



African Cosmos: Stellar Arts, National Museum of African Art, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C., June 20-December 9, 2012; Newark Museum, February 26-August 11, 2013; Los Angeles County Museum of Art, August 23-November 30, 2014; Michael C. Carlos Museum at Emory University, Atlanta, January 31-June 21, 2015



African Vision: The Walt Disney-Tishman African Art Collection, National Museum of African Art, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C., February 15, 2007-March 31, 2009



For Spirits and Kings: African Art from the Paul and Ruth Tishman Collection, Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, 1981




Freyer, Bryna M. and Christine Mullen Kreamer. 2010. "The Collection of the National Museum of African Art Smithsonian Institution." Sculpture Review LIX (1), p. 26.



Kreamer, Christine Mullen. 2006. "African Vision: The Walt Disney-Tishman African Art Collection." Tribal Arts 43, p. 78, no. 2.



Kreamer, Christine Mullen. 2012. African Cosmos: Stellar Arts. Washington, D.C.: National Museum of African Art, Smithsonian Institution; New York: Monacelli Press, p. 116, no. 7.3.



Kreamer, Christine Mullen, Bryna Freyer and Andrea Nicolls. 2007. African Vision: The Walt Disney-Tishman African Art Collection. Washington, D.C.: National Museum of African Art, Smithsonian Institution, pp. 108, 122-123, fig. 36, no. 30.



Leuzinger, Elsy. 1972. The Art of Black Africa. New York Graphic Society, no. A2.



Robbins, Warren. 1966. African Art in American Collections. New York: Frederick A. Praeger, p. 57, no. 28.



Vogel, Susan (ed). 1981. For Spirits and Kings: African Art from the Paul and Ruth Tishman Collection. New York: Metropolitan Museum of Art, pp. 19-20, no. 4.


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