African art fertility dolls.
Forming a flat triangle, this doll gradually widens towards the base, resting on the geometric blocks representing the feet. Proportionally reduced, a head with summary features is embellished with a high crested hairstyle.
Inlays of numerous colored glass beads.
Abraded satin patina.
It is only fairly recently that the dolls of the Namji or Dowayo, a people of mountain animists living in northern Cameroon, have been known. These effigies represent the human body in stylized elementary forms. These African tribal dolls are carved in wood by the blacksmith, initially for the play of little girls. But these dolls are mainly used by sterile women in complex fertility rituals, the doll becoming a surrogate child that they will treat as such. In some cases the groom offered it to his future wife, the doll representing their future offspring. The decoration of the doll can also reproduce the finery of the new initiates after their period of confinement.
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