African art > African statues : tribal fetish, maternity > Chamba Statue
Chamba Statue (N° 14234)
This rare Chamba figure has benefited from numerous libations, enriching it with an exceptional reddish patina, locally chipped. Best known for their buffalo masks, the Chamba communicated with the spirit world through these statues. However, their functions remain little known. Stripped of other ornamental details, the figure is capped with a clay crust that is delineated by a raffia braid, and on which remain some seeds of abrus. The block of the head sinks on picked shoulders, extending from bent arms, attached to the concave bust. The hips, surrounded by plant fibres, form a raised volume at the centre of which the stylized sex appears in a triangle. The lower limbs, stocky, flex on thick feet. An orifice on the skull allows a ritual sample to be assumed, probably for therapeutic purposes.
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Installed since the 17th century on the south bank of the Benue river in Nigeria, coming from the mountainous regions of Cameroon's borders, the Chamba have resisted attempts to conquer the Fulani , nomads who settled in large numbers in the Nigeria. They are known for their famous buffalo mask with its two flat jaws extending the head. The less frequent statuary is divided into protective figures ( tauwa , sing. tau ) which are kept in a square to the left of the entrance of the concession, and in statues of ancestors, kona . The couple figures refer to the universal theme of the primordial couple.
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|Material(s)||wood, plant fibre|
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