FigureArtist(s)Northern CameroonObject Creation Date20th centuryMedium & Supportcarved wood, string and human hairDimensions
18 ½ in x 7 ⅛ in x 3 ⅜ in (46.99 cm x 18.1 cm x 8.57 cm)Credit LineGift of Dr. James and Vivian CurtisSubject matter
This figure was most likely made by the Dowayo peoples of Cameroon—also called Namchi or Namji. Blacksmiths created wooden dolls for women who had trouble conceiving; the doll was then decorated with beads to resemble a newly initiated woman. As a symbol of potential motherhood, women would treat the doll as a real child until they became pregnant.
Cameron, Elisabeth L. 1997. “In Search of Children: Dolls and Agency in Africa.” African Arts
, Vol. 30, No. 2: pp. 18-33, 93.Physical Description
Carved wooden figure of a human form with a narrow torso and wide hips and shoulders. The hands and feet are represented by round knobs. The face consists of small eyes and a closed mouth. Geometric patterns are carved into the figure and there is a string tied around the waist. Patches of human hair are attached to the top of the head. Primary Object Classification Sculpture Primary Object TypefigureCollection AreaAfricanRights
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children (people by age group)
families (kinship groups)
women (female humans)