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.
|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||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|
|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||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|
|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||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|
|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||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|
|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|
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