African art > African statues : tribal fetish, maternity > Chamba statue
Chamba statue (N° 15112)
This double Chamba figure has a red ochre crusty 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. This sculpture offers great similarities to the piece sculpted by Soompa before 1940 at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts in Richmond (U.S.A)and which appears on page 73 of the book "Arts of the BenueU Valley,0022 published by the Museum of Quai Branly. According to the authors, these statues were used during rituals in Mapeo in Nigeria and Yéli in Cameroon.The central block joining the two characters has a large frontal crack. Part of one of the oversized feet on which the sculpture rests is missing.
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Installed since the 17th century on the southern shore 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 northern 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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