Anyi Wooden Sculpture of a Seated Woman - X.1050
Origin: Eastern Ivory Coast
Circa: 20 th Century AD
Collection: African
Style: Anyi
Medium: Wood


Seated upon a stool, the foremost symbol of royal authority in Africa, this sculpture most likely represents a queen mother. Her fantastically styled coiffure reflects her high-ranking status and overwhelming beauty. Furthermore, the raised scarifications that cover her face and body are considered both prestigious marks of rank as well as symbols of her sexual desirability. Certain specific scars are indicative of the Anyi people and would identify her as a part of this tribe. Clearly, this woman is a person of noble rank who held an esteemed role within her society, reinforced by her necklace that has been colored red. Most Likely, this sculpture was commissioned by her relatives after she passed away to commemorate her life. The art of the Anyi tribe is heavily indebted to the style of their neighbors, the Baule. Like the Baule, the Anyi people believed that the spirits of the deceased continued to play an active role in the life of their descendants. By creating memorial sculptures and presenting it with proper sacrifices and libations, the relatives of the deceased could influence the favor of the spirit. Judging by the beauty and social position of this woman, there is no doubt that she would have continued to play a major role within society even after her bodily departure. Seated upon her royal throne, she continues to look down upon us her subjects from the next world. Through our worship and reverence, her powers are maintained if not heightened. From beyond the grave, she rules with benevolent grace and dignity, altering the course of our lives and the path of the tribe. - (X.1050)



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