Mumuye figure


Carved wood
Early 20th century
Height: 18 ¾ in. (47.5 cm)

Ex collection Galerie Jacques Kerchache, Paris
Ex Gros & Delettrez, Paris, 18 Nov 2003, lot 235
Ex collection Galerie Flak circa 2006
Ex private collection, France

Published: “Mumuye”, François Neyt, Paris, 2006
(cover & plate 19)

Yale University Art Gallery – The Yale-van Rijn Archive of African Art #0050716

Price: on request

Western Africa
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The Mumuye live in the foothills of the Shebshi Mountains near the banks of the Benue in eastern Nigeria. This agrarian people is comprised of three different dialectal groups, and was long unknown to Westerners, who discovered their art only in the late 1960s.
The Mumuye used sculptures called Iagalagana in different rituals: the figures played a central role in ancestor worship and in curing ceremonies. They served as intercessors between the spirit world and that of men, and served as proof of the high status of the family that owned them.