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32 Items in this Learning Collection
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Copyright
All Rights Reserved ()

Figure

Accession Number
1997/1.351

Title
Figure

Artist(s)
Northern Cameroon

Object Creation Date
20th century

Medium & Support
carved wood, string and human hair

Dimensions
18 ½ in x 7 ⅛ in x 3 ⅜ in (46.99 cm x 18.1 cm x 8.57 cm)

Credit Line
Gift of Dr. James and Vivian Curtis

Subject 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.

References Cited:
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 Type
figure

Collection Area
African

Rights
If you are interested in using an image for a publication, please visit http://umma.umich.edu/request-image for more information and to fill out the online Image Rights and Reproductions Request Form. Keywords
Figures
children (people by age group)
dolls
families (kinship groups)
fertility
healing
mothers
standing
toys
women (female humans)

& Author Notes

All Rights Reserved