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Figure of a Monkey, possibly for Mbra

Arts of Africa

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.

MEDIUM Wood, pigment, sacrificial material
DATES late 19th or early 20th century
DIMENSIONS 22 x 5 1/4 x 7 3/4 in. (55.9 x 13.3 x 19.7 cm)  (show scale)
COLLECTIONS Arts of Africa
CREDIT LINE Carll H. de Silver Fund
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.
MUSEUM LOCATION This item is not on view
CAPTION Baule. Figure of a Monkey, possibly for Mbra, late 19th or early 20th century. Wood, pigment, sacrificial material, 22 x 5 1/4 x 7 3/4 in. (55.9 x 13.3 x 19.7 cm). Brooklyn Museum, Carll H. de Silver Fund, 2001.48. Creative Commons-BY (Photo: , 2001.48_threequarter_PS9.jpg)
IMAGE 3/4, 2001.48_threequarter_PS9.jpg., 2017
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