Lot: 300

Rare standing figure

Nigeria, Mama

Provenance Size Starting price / estimated price
Roger F. Azar, Lebanon (2002)
Richard Scheller, San Francisco, USA
Alain de Monbrison, Paris, France
French Private Collection
H: 17.7 inch 20000 EUR / 40000 EUR

light brown wood, partly encrusted patina, reddish brown paint, black paint remains, showing abstract forms, plant fibres, two circular drillings at the back, min. dam., small missing parts, cracks, base. The Mama are an ethnic group in northern Nigeria, to the west of the Geomai between the town of Jos and the river Benue. Like the Mambila, Mumuye and other groups of the Nigerian Plateau they were known as fierce warriors, and cannibals. The Mama people became especially known for their highly abstract antelope and buffalo masks. Figures are rather rare and only little is known about their use. According to Frank, there is only one cult represented by carved figures. This is called "tabalak" and causes and heals skin diseases. The figures were kept in secret and used in the healing ceremonies.

Hellmich, Christina & Manuel Jordán, Embodiments, San Francisco 2015, p. 114 f. Rubin, William (Hg.), Primitivismus in der Kunst des zwanzigsten Jahrhunderts, München 1984, p. 373, ill. 504 Prado, A. & J. Teodoro, Joyas del Niger y del Benue, Madrid 2003,
Auditorio de Galicia (ed.), Nixeria, Arte tribal na collecion Azar, 1995, p. 67, ill. 22