Figure of Mother and Child (Phemba)
Arts of Africa
Such sculptures of a mother nursing her child may have been used to increase or aid fertility. The mirror-covered cavities in the infant’s abdomen and the mother’s back were intended to hold protective medicines.
Wood, beads, glass mirror, metal, resin
11 x 5 x 4 1/2 in. (27.9 x 12.7 x 11.4 cm) (show scale)
This item is not on view
Museum Expedition 1922, Robert B. Woodward Memorial Fund
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 firstname.lastname@example.org
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 email@example.com
Kongo (Yombe subgroup). Figure of Mother and Child (Phemba), 19th century. Wood, beads, glass mirror, metal, resin, 11 x 5 x 4 1/2 in. (27.9 x 12.7 x 11.4 cm). Brooklyn Museum, Museum Expedition 1922, Robert B. Woodward Memorial Fund, 22.1138. Creative Commons-BY (Photo: Brooklyn Museum, 22.1138_threequarter_PS2.jpg)
3/4, 22.1138_threequarter_PS2.jpg. Brooklyn Museum photograph, 2006
"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.
Carved wooden mother and child. Mother, who is nursing child, is seated cross-legged, supporting child's head with right hand and legs with left hand. She has high, spade-like headdress, open protruding mouth revealing filed teeth, and glass eyes with black pupils. Ears are carved spatially and have pink bead earrings strung on wire through ear lobes. Over much of shoulders and back are scarification marks. Above breasts are a band and a necklace. Infant child, with mirror in center of abdomen, has hand on mother's stomach. Second mirror is attached with four nails to lower part of mother's back. There is a deep crack running down the figure of the mother from below her chin through the torso. Other cracks throughout figure and base. Often old crack repairs open up again and need to be refilled.
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.