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Between and Mortarboard


UMMA Object Specific Fields






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Figure

Accession Number
1997/1.353

Title
Figure

Artist(s)
Northern Cameroon

Object Creation Date
20th century

Medium & Support
wood, beads, string, and human hair

Dimensions
11 in x 4 15/16 in x 2 ¾ in (27.94 cm x 12.54 cm x 6.99 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 she 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 human figure with a columnar body and limbs. The body is decorated with strands of beads, primarily red, white, and purple. The neck and ankles have multiple strands of yellow beads while one wrist has a metal bracelet. The top of the figure is decorated with human hair. 

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
Objects We Use
children (people by age group)
dolls
families (kinship groups)
fertility
mothers
toys
women (female humans)

& Author Notes

Web Use Permitted