African art > Terracotta > Statue Enough

Anthropomorphic figure Nok (N° 17766)

This African terracotta Nok is from the Guy Mercier collection, consultant for the Solvay group, and passed down from generation to generation. At the beginning of the 20th century, Guy Mercier began to assemble a vast collection of African tribal art. While radiating in West and Central Africa as part of his work, and collecting in-situ works, the majority of his collection is nevertheless derived from Curiosity cabinets which abounded in European capitals during the 1920s. It also comes from prestigious galleries (Paris, Brussels, London, New York)The character stands on a globe pierced at the base. These types of figures are supposed to function as funerary statues, in addition to other little-known uses.
The exploitation of tin deposits in central Nigeria allowed the exhumation, from 1929, terracotta figures that, according to tests carried out by thermoluminescence, came from the Nok civilization (named after the mining village)This civilization was born approximately around 600 BC to mysteriously die out following a famine or epidemic around 250 AD. Agricultural tools and stone axes also appeared, confirming the notion of settled farmers living off the production of yam and palm oil. Slag of furnaces later confirmed that they were also in control of the techniques of the forge. The first head was discovered in Tsauni in 1943 at a depth of eight metres. It was used as a scarecrow and then acquired by the mine manager who introduced it to the young archaeologist Bernard Fagg, a civil administrator. One hundred and fifty terracottas, from the valley north of the confluence of the Benoué and the Niger River, were collected in 1952 for the inauguration of the Jos Museum.  

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OriginCollection Mercier sans test TL
EthnyNok
Countrynigéria
Material(s)terracotta
Height40
Width20
Weight4.43 Kg
Estimated datingn/a
Socle includedYes

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