Mambila Ancestral Figure, Nigeria/Cameroon
Wood, sacrificial materials
height 14 1/2in (36.8cm)
Field collected ca. 1950 by a French Anthropologist
Bernd Muhlack, Germany
Private Collection, New York
Acquired from the above by the present owner
According to Northern (1984: p. 190), "On the Northern Periphery into Nigeria in the west live the Mambila. They are agricultural people living in autonomous villages of egalitarian lineage organization. Although Mambila art has long been acknowledge as one of the distinct and significant sculptural styles of Cameroon, our knowledge of its history and iconographic evolution has remained superficial. Much of Mambila art is associated with the seasonal cycles of planting and harvesting and the cult of ancestors whose material abode is the guarded shrine of every family compound. Mambila sculpture is fairly consistently characterized by variations of the same zoomorphic icon."