Statuary is the other typical expression of African plastic. In contrast to the mask, it is rarely exhibited in public and its use is not strictly related to collective representations; it is mostly employed in private rituals with the exception of large statues that are the property of the village and are kept in consecrated places such as temples.
Generally made of wood, African statuary depicts, in most cases, the idealised ancestor, but can also support the power of a spirit, beneficial or malefic, whose strength must be channelled in a positive direction through propitiatory offerings. Only in the presence of centralised political structures can statuary depict sovereigns or important court figures.
Although each ethnic group represents an aesthetic universe in its own right, endowed with quite singular stylistic autonomies, it can be said that in order to be effective, African sculpture must possess certain general formal characteristics: abstraction, luminosity, harmony, symmetry, hieraticity, verticality, frontality, staticity. These, far from representing a sterile academic exercise, contribute to its value, enhancing its social and religious significance.
This statue is supposed to have been made in the 18th century, entirely in painted and modelled teak. With respect to the head covering on the head of the man depicted, it can be assumed that this depicted was an important personage for the tribe, a chief or religious member. The arms are resting on the knees as a symbol of royal importance.
The statue is a collector’s piece, an object of study, suitable for those who madly love African art.
Height: 69 cm (27.16 in.)
Width: 44 cm (17.32 in.)
Depth: 30 cm (11.81 in.)
The statue is in good and original vintage condition, slight scratches and light wear consistent with its time and use. Being a VINTAGE item it is possible that it will bear some scratches or defects.