68 UMMA Objects
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Bamana (Bamana)
Sculpture for Jo or Gwa Society
20th century
Museum Purchase assisted by the Friends of the Museum of Art

Ancestor Figure
Museum Purchase assisted by the Friends of the Museum of Art
Cast brass head of a human. A beaded collar covers the neck and chin, while the top of the head is decorated with a beaded cap, small clusters of what may be flowers, and 'wings' that rise from either side of the head and almost meet by the mouth. There is an opening at the top of the head as well. 
Edo (Benin);Benin (ancient Nigerian) (Edo (African culture))
Commemorative Head
1800 – 1897
Gift of Candis and Helmut Stern
Wood-carved, standing figure with knees slightly flexed, prominent gentalia, naturalistic face, pointed beard and eyes inset with a white material, probably small ceramic fragments. The feet are missing. It wears a metal ring around its neck, and a string with metal fragments, glass beads and a small metal bell is attached across its chest, from arm to arm. A vertical crack on the front right side of the figure is filled with a gauzy material.
Beembe (Kongo)
Power figure
1865 – 1875
Gift of Candis and Helmut Stern

Dogon (Dogon (culture or style))
Female Ancestor Figure
1900 – 1971
Museum Purchase assisted by the Friends of the Museum of Art
Female figure with crossed legs, breastfeeding a child. The large mother figure is decorated with scarifications on her breasts, shoulders and back. She bears filed teeth, is wearing an elaborate headdress and her face has been decorated with three brass tacks. Mirror fragments were used to evoke eyes. On the back of the sculpture a mirror covers a raised addition containing unknown elements. The figures are seated on a rectangular base with geometric decorations. 
Yombe (Yombe (culture or style))
Mother and child figure
1885 – 1895
Gift of Candis and Helmut Stern
A naturalistic rendering of a human face. Eyes carved in relief are convex and almond-shaped with narrow slits and are placed in round, concave eye sockets. Nose is slender at the bridge and rounded at the tip. The horizontal mouth is partially opened. Half rounded ears display metal loops, one includes a tag with the number 039641-HAV(?). The "hair" is attached with a cloth headband, covered in snakeskin, placed high on the forehead and is made from clay and red tukula powder. The face shows striated, scarifcation patters underneath and to the sides of the eyes; the forehead shows is a chingelyengelye cross motif. The patina is smooth and redish brown in color.
Chokwe (Chokwe (culture or style))
Pwo Mask
1885 – 1895
Gift of Candis and Helmut Stern
Large, ovoid mask with a dark patina. The forehead of the face is raised, sloping down to a short, broad nose. The eyes are formed by two cresent shapes separated by a rectangle. On each cheek are three raised marks in a vertical line. The mouth is closed and may be moveable. 
Ibibio (Ibibio)
1935 – 1945
Gift of Lydia Johnstone
Carved wooden figure of a human. The umbilicus protrudes and is concave, which would have held magical/medicinal substances. The figure is posed with crossed legs and one hand supporting the head. The face is detailed, with glass eyes. A metal ring was placed around the neck of the figure. The top of the head is empty, but possibly contained magical substances as well. 
Vili (Kongo) (Vili)
Power Figure
1845 – 1855
Gift of Candis and Helmut Stern
Small, carved male figure, seated atop a block, with legs crossed. The naturalism with which the expressive face is carved, the high crested coiffure (or chiefly cap?) and the progressive foreshortening of the body show the importance given to the head in Yombe aesthetics. The figure's eyes are mirrored glass, and the upper body, face and head are studded with brass tacks. A slight vertical crack can be seen at the figure's sternum.<br />
The Yombe figure was identified for UMMA by Allen Roberts and Mary (Polly) Nooter Roberts. There was a discrepency regarding the dating of the piece: the export paperwork said "circa 1830", but the dealer's catalogue said early 19th c. When asked to help resolve the dating, Polly Nooter Roberts replied: "As for the Yombe figure, I can tell you with certainty that it is NOT early 20th century, and is definitely from the 19th century, if not earlier. I cannot confirm the 1830 date, but I would be more inclined to believe that than the early 20th century. So, I think you can co
Yombe;Kongo (Yombe (culture or style);Kongo (culture or style))
Seated Male Figure
1825 – 1875
Museum purchase made possible by the David L. Chambers and John G. Crane Fund for Acquisitions
Standing human figure with arms in front of the body and slightly bent knees. The head is round with minimal detail. There is a large crack through the center front of the figure. 
Standing Figure
1915 – 1925
Gift of Harold W. Geisel, U.S. Foreign Service
This male standing figure is holding a weapon and has detailed scarifications on his chest and abdomen. The eyes are inserted porcelain chips and the figure shows a beard and an asymmetrical hairstyle. 
Beembe (Kongo)
Ancestor figure
1865 – 1875
Gift of Candis and Helmut Stern