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Female Figure from a Karan-Wemba (Living Ancestress) Mask

African Art

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Female Figure from a Karan-Wemba (Living Ancestress) Mask

Artwork Details

Artist/Maker

Mossi Artist
Burkina Faso

Date

sixteenth century

Medium

Wood and iron

Accession #

2016.205

Dimensions

27 x 7 x 7 1/2 inches

Location

On View - Stent Family Wing, Skyway, Gallery 410

Description

This dynamically carved figure was commissioned to honor a woman who had outlived her husband and attained the rank of “living ancestress,” a beacon of wisdom. Worn with a fiber costume, the mask—understood as an active entity—performed at the funeral of the ancestress and at subsequent commemorative festivals to promote communal well-being.

Credit

Purchase through funds provided by the Richman Special Initiatives Endowment, Judy and Scott Lampert, Pamola and Guy Lescault, Barbara and Bert Levy, Barbara and Laurence Murphy, and Friends of African Art

Image Copyright

Photo by Mike Jensen


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