This female figure with a broad chest and pointed breasts stands in a powerful, upright stance, with her arms positioned firmly by her sides. The figure’s parted hairstyle and carved neck lobes are features of female beauty amongst the Mende of Sierra Leone.
Ex Chris Wild Collection, UK
Estimated Period: First Half of 20th Century (1940’s– 1950’s)
“Female figures have a number of different uses in Mende culture. Some were used in divination rites to help cure both physical and mental disorders, while others were associated with initiation societies. Without specific documentation it is not possible to attribute these figures to use in specific contexts. In general, such sculptures were used to stand beside and protect the medicines in a society house, where they remain unseen by the public except when they are brought out on special occasions, such as society initiations.”
William C. Siegmann in 'Mende Female Figure', Rand African Art https://www.randafricanart.com/Mende_female_figure.html
There is a missing section and early restoration at the base of the figure’s feet.
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