< Back to collection

Figure of a Monkey, possibly for Mbra

Mbra figures are carved in the form of a baboon. They are meant to serve as a means of contacting a spirit force. The spirit is believed to possess an individual and assist that person in divining the future. The baboon form is meant to shock, intimidate, and impress with the power of the wild. To honor the spirit, offerings of blood, eggs and millet beer are made to the figure, producing the encrusted surface of this piece.

Catalogue Description:
Standing male figure with legs flexed holding a bowl. Head is in the form of a baboon or monkey with open mouth and teeth painted white. Condition: An old crack extends from upper jaw to top of head. Along this crack, in proper right eyebrow, a small chip approximately 1/4 inch x 1/4 inch is missing. Other areas, including legs, back, arms, and shoulders, show varying degrees of deterioration and old insect damage.

Brooklyn Museum Logo