Ancestor figure

Accession Number

Ancestor figure

Beembe (Kongo)

Object Creation Date
circa 1870

Medium & Support
wood and porcelain chips

7 15/16 in x 3 1/8 in x 2 3/4 in (20.1 cm x 8 cm x 7 cm);7 15/16 in x 3 1/8 in x 2 3/4 in (20.1 cm x 8 cm x 7 cm)

Credit Line
Gift of Candis and Helmut Stern

Subject matter
The presence of the beard on the male figure supports the notion that this sculpture represents an ancestor (mukuya). Such figures were commissioned by elders who wished to be remembered after they had died. They were kept alongside other sculptures and regularly attended to by the heads of families. 

Physical Description
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. 

Primary Object Classification
Wood and Woodcarving

Primary Object Type
ritual figure

Collection Area

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commemorative sculpture
scarification (process)

5 Related Resources

Devotional Objects Across Religions
(Part of 4 Learning Collections)
C2 - Fairchild - Metaphysics (brainstorm)
(Part of: Curriculum/Collection)
Cabinet W: Shelf 3
(Part of: Albertine Monroe-Brown Study-Storage Gallery)

& Author Notes

Web Use Permitted

On display

UMMA Gallery Location ➜ AMH, 2nd floor ➜ 205 (Albertine Monroe-Brown Study-Storage Gallery) ➜ Cabinet W ➜ Shelf 3