Lot: 197

Online Auction

Pair of figures "lü mä"

Côte d'Ivoire, Dan

Provenance Size Starting price / estimated price
Harvey R. ("Bud") Frantz (died 1963), Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, USA
Colleen (Frantz) Compton-Deater, Danielsville, Pennsylvania, USA

Late in 1936 H. R. Frantz was sent to Liberia, West Africa, to manage a 3,000-acre estate and oversee the work of 500 natives for the Firestone Plantation Company. His work included development of new rubber plantations from the jungle as well as the production of liquid latex. When his job was finished, he and a few friends struck out northward through the jungle, travelling by whatever means they happened to come across, mostly by canoe or foot, until they finally reached the legendary town of Timbuktu. When he returned to his country two years later, Frantz brought the Dan couple to Pennsylvania, where it remained in family estate up to now. The above is confirmed by Colleen (Frantz) Compton-Deater, the granddaughter of H. R. Frantz.
H: 29.3 inch & 30.3 inch 2500 EUR
plus 27 % commission, VAT, transport and insurance

wood, metal, fabric, base

Wooden figures of the Dan are called "lü mä", "wooden person". They usually represent women, although sometimes men are portrayed, and then frequently in male and female pairs.

Although the figures are stylized in the traditional manner, aspects of portraiture may exist in cicatrization patterns, coiffures, and other individual conditions. They could have been meant as portrait of a still-living or a dead person.

The Dan seem to have esteemed these figures primarily for their rarity. The possession of such a figure was a mark of status.