African art > Dolls > Namji doll

Namchi doll, Namji (N° 17847)

The dolls of Namji or Dowayo , animist mountain people living in northern Cameroon, have only recently been known. These effigies represent the human body in stylized elementary forms. This anthropomorphic sculpture, supported by large joined feet, has a flat circular head with oblique jugal scarifications, an excessive neck with a strip of tissue, a cylindrical bust in which the hollowed-out cup contains a cauri at the umbilical level. Small articulated arms are made of beads and curies at their ends. The bust has diamond motifs highlighted by a series of perforations, and fabric wrapped around the vital area of the umbilical, marked with a cauri. These elements draw attention to fertility. The patina, grainy, and ritual libations consolidated the tissues adorning the object. Cracks.
These tribal dolls are carved out of wood by the blacksmith, initially for the play of little girls. But these dolls are mostly used by infertile women in complex fertility rituals, the doll becoming a surrogate child that they will treat as such. In some cases the fiancé offered it to his future wife, the doll representing their future offspring. The decoration of the doll can also reproduce the attire of the new initiates after their period of confinement.  

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OriginEx-collection française
EthnyNamji
Countrycameroun
Material(s)wood, cauri, textile, perles
Height50
Width13
Weight0.70 Kg
Estimated datingmid-xx°

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