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Permanent Collection: Sub-Saharan African Art:


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

Painted screens depicting ancestors decorate small shrine houses of the Mambila. This painting portrays a male and female under a cosmic canopy, with sun, moon, and a rainbow. The triangle above and between the two figures is a symbol of the village compound. The composition refers to the microcosmic-macrocosmic relationship of village and universe and represents the belief that each man and woman serves as a link between the spiritual and temporal worlds.

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