Chokwe Wooden Divination Sculpture - PF.5717
Origin: Angola
Circa: 19 th Century AD to 20 th Century AD
Dimensions: 9.75" (24.8cm) high x 3.25" (8.3cm) wide
Collection: African
Style: Chokwe
Medium: Wood


Small wooden female figures, called Cisola, are rare. This fine sculpture is a perfect example. Thought to represent a great queen or, more symbolically, a female ancestor celebrated for her fecundity, these types of carvings were used during fertility rites and to safeguard pregnant women. Thus, a deceased mother, memorialized in the form of this figure, may watch over the safety of her pregnant daughters while also ensuring the well being of her grandchildren. In a society void of photography, the memories of fallen relatives were traditionally preserved in sculpted form. Placed inside a makeshift altar, offerings could be given to influence the favor of their spirit. Ancestors were believed to play an active, vital role in the daily lives of their descendents as this statue demonstrates. This is clearly an idealized image of a woman. Her head is emphasized above all, characterized by a serene composure. Scarifications are evident on her cheeks, stomach, and pubic region. Possibly, these patterns could imitate the specific designs of the deceased. This small statue make the memory of a loved one tangible, it makes us recall the person as if they still walked among us. - (PF.5717)



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