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Permanent Collection: Sub-Saharan African Art

The Carlos Museum's collection of 19th and 20th century African art offers valuable insight into African artistic expressions in the variety of their forms, functions, and cultures of origin. A majority of the objects come from West Africa, with a focus on the numerous cultures of Nigeria, Benin (formerly Dahomey), and the Cameroon Grassfields. The rest are from the Equatorial Central region of the continent, located mainly in the modern state of Zaïre.

Made from different kinds of materials, the objects in this collection bear evidence of uses in a variety of contexts, both religious and secular. There are figures from personal or family shrines, such as Igbo Ikenga shrine figures, complemented by those used in community shrines, such as the Mambila bark painting. There are examples like the exquisite beaded bowl figure from the Kom kingdom of the Cameroon Grassfields, used by royalty to hold kola nuts for their guests. The collection also includes a wide variety of masks and costumes danced in masquerades which carry religious and cultural significance for participants, including the audience. The works demonstrate important aspects of the worldviews and aesthetic values of their cultures of origin.

Please note the Galleries of Sub-Saharan African Art are closed temporarily. They will reopen on February 9, 2008.


Link to Beaded Bowl Figure   Beaded Bowl Figure

Cameroon, Grassfields, Kom, Laikom. ca. A.D. 1900. Wood, beads. 28 x 14 x 12 in. (70.6 x 35.3 x 30.5 cm). Gift of William S. Arnett. 1994.3.3
  Link to Shrine Figure, Mami Wata   Shrine Figure, "Mami Wata"

Nigeria, Ibibio, Annang. 20th century A.D. Wood, kaolin, pigment, paint. 34 1/4 x 24 x 10 in. (87 x 61 x 25 cm). Gift of William S. Arnett. 1994.3.9


Link to Efe/Gelede Headdress, Apasa   Efe/Gelede Headdress, Apasa

Nigeria, Yoruba, Ohori. Late 19th - early 20th centuries A.D. Wood, pigment. 16 1/2 x 10 1/4 x 13 in. (42 x 26 x 33 cm). 1994.4.776
  Link to Sowo Mask   Sowo Mask

Sierra Leone, Mende. Late 19th - early 20th centuries A.D. Wood, raffia, copper alloy. 25 x 7 1/2 x 8 1/2 in. (63.5 x 19 x 22 cm). 1994.4.797


Link to Female Effigy Vessel   Female Effigy Vessel

Zaïre, Mangbetu. Early 20th century A.D. Ceramic. 8 x 6 in. (20.2 x 15.1 cm). Gift of William S. Arnett. 1994.3.19
  Link to Power Figure, Nkishi   Power Figure, Nkishi

Zaïre, Songye. Late 19th - early 20th centuries A.D. Wood, brass, bone, incrustation. 9 x 2 1/4 x 2 3/4 in. (22.9 x 5.7 x 7 cm). 1994.4.20


Link to Mask with Head Cloth, Ngady Mwaash   Mask with Head Cloth, Ngady Mwaash

Zaïre, Kuba, Bushoong, 19th century A.D. Wood, fiber, shells, cloth, beads, skin, pigment, 17 3/8 x 11 1/2 x 7 in. (44 x 29 x 18 cm). 1994.4.93
  Link to Helmet Mask   Helmet Mask

Nigeria, Idoma (?), 20th century A.D. Wood, kaolin, charcoal, 16 1/2 x 9 x 9 in. (41 x 23 x 23 cm). 1994.4.705


Link to Painting   Painting

Nigeria/Cameroon, Mambila, Late 19th - early 20th centuries A.D. Pigment on raffia palm wood, 32 x 45 in. (81.3 x 114. 3 cm). L1994.11.55
       


Collections & Exhibitions: | Ancient Egyptian and Nubian Art | Ancient Near Eastern Art | Art of the Ancient Americas | Asian Art | Greek and Roman Art | Works of Art on Paper

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