African art > African statues : tribal fetish, maternity > Tiv figure
Protective Tiv figure (N° 13889)
Belgian African Art Collection.
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People with diverse traditions have settled in the savannah north of the Niger and Benué rivers. The tiv originating in Cameroon are composed of farmers living on the banks of the left bank of the Benué. Their statues are of two types : of a naturalist type, these figures take the form of female representations, some of which formed the top of posts of reception boxes. The seconds, called ihambé, associated with fertility, feature seated characters. Witchcraft, in the hands of the elders through fetishes, pervades tiv society.
Akumbo family protective fetishes are kept in individual huts. It is during births, hunting and agrarian rituals that their role comes into play. They are also supposed to protect against the ancient transformed into geniuses of nature adzov, the latter being able to arouse madness, mutism or handicap of children. The atsuku fetishes associated with hunting and circumcision, individual and collective, are adorned with protective virtues. They are small in size and in summary form.
This skeletal sculpture, with deep orbits of steep seeds joining each other as a crest, is presumed to belong to the category of akumbo. Built on a circular pedestal, with arms spread out from the bust, it is frozen in a threatening attitude, displaying a broad grin that reveals prominent dentition. Metallic base. Sprinkled with indigo powder residue next to a chipped kaolin patina.
Source: "L'art africain" ed. Mazenod; "L'Art tribal d'Afrique noire" ed. Assouline.
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