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Standing Female Figure (Gheonga)

Arts of Africa

This female gheonga figure most likely accompanied a male figure in a Bwiti shrine. A gheonga figure represents an ancestor, who is called upon for assistance with problems. Modern Bwiti incorporates animism, veneration of the ancestors, and elements borrowed from Christianity.
MEDIUM Wood, paint
DATES late 19th or early 20th century
DIMENSIONS 20 3/4 x 6 1/2 x 5 in. (52.7 x 16.5 x 12.7 cm)  (show scale)
COLLECTIONS Arts of Africa
CREDIT LINE Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Gordon Douglas
CATALOGUE DESCRIPTION Wooden standing female figure originally thought to be painted with red (tukula) wood powder (pigment tested by Jean Portell 1984-1985. Tested as red lead. Report published by Canadian Conservation Institute). The legs are slightly bent forward, feet apart, arms away from sides and bent with hands held in front of torso. A separate thin wooden bracelet has been placed on right arm. The forehead is slightly curved and facial area slightly recessed. The neck is long and tubular. The eyes consist of applied black colored metal pieces that are cut out in the centers. Mouth is small and protrudes. Ears are circular. The coiffure is like a flat cap with a cleavage on the front rim; the back is composed of irregular grooves. CONDITION: Red paint wearing. Check extending from underneath left breast the length of the torso. A portion of left front side of neck missing and a void at base. Part of pubic area void. Figure is mounted on a modern black metal stand. Note: Surface was stabilized by Conservation Department 3/75.
MUSEUM LOCATION This item is not on view
CAPTION Tsogho. Standing Female Figure (Gheonga), late 19th or early 20th century. Wood, paint, 20 3/4 x 6 1/2 x 5 in. (52.7 x 16.5 x 12.7 cm). Brooklyn Museum, Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Gordon Douglas, 74.211.6. Creative Commons-BY (Photo: Brooklyn Museum, 74.211.6_PS1.jpg)
IMAGE overall, 74.211.6_PS1.jpg. Brooklyn Museum photograph, 2007
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