Figure with Four Faces (Ginin)
Arts of Africa
This type of statue with multiple heads, called ginin, was commissioned by a group of individuals with a shared lineage, to be placed on an ancestral altar. It represents solidarity and the protection of the family, with one face looking in each of the cardinal directions from which danger might come.
Wood, iron, sacrificial materials
late 19th or early 20th century
This item is not on view
Gift of Avery Eliscu
You may download and use Brooklyn Museum images of this three-dimensional work in accordance with a Creative Commons license
. Fair use, as understood under the United States Copyright Act, may also apply.
Please include caption information from this page and credit the Brooklyn Museum. If you need a high resolution file, please contact email@example.com
For further information about copyright, we recommend resources at the United States Library of Congress
, Cornell University
, Copyright and Cultural Institutions: Guidelines for U.S. Libraries, Archives, and Museums
, and Copyright Watch
For more information about the Museum's rights project, including how rights types are assigned, please see our blog posts on copyright
If you have any information regarding this work and rights to it, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
Dogon. Figure with Four Faces (Ginin), late 19th or early 20th century. Wood, iron, sacrificial materials, 14 1/4 in. (32.6 cm). Brooklyn Museum, Gift of Avery Eliscu, 82.155. Creative Commons-BY
overall, 82.155_view2_bw.jpg. Brooklyn Museum photograph
"CUR" at the beginning of an image file name means that the image was created by a curatorial staff member. These study images may be digital point-and-shoot photographs, when we don\'t yet have high-quality studio photography, or they may be scans of older negatives, slides, or photographic prints, providing historical documentation of the object.
The standing figure is a rich brown-black color and completely covered with sacrificial patina. The four opposing heads face outward, and are surmounted by a shallow, circular, concave, disk-like configuration. Under the rim of the disk is an iron ring. There is a narrow cylindrical articulation from the chin of one of the heads. All the facial features are in low relief, an affect that is heightened because of the sacrificial patina. The torso is cylindrical with sharply defined breasts, protruding navel, and arms, held apart from sides, are bent at the elbow. The hands are held in front of the abdomen. The knees are slightly flexed and portions of both feet are missing. CONDITION: Good. The rim of the disk is chipped in two places and there is visible erosion. Some pitting and flaking of the surface. Sections of both feet are broken away and missing. The figure is mounted on a modern black metal stand.
Not every record you will find here is complete. More information is available for some works than for others, and some entries have been updated more recently. Records are frequently reviewed and revised, and we welcome
any additional information you might have.