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HOME : African & Tribal Art : Mossi : Mossi Brass Sculpture of a Head
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Mossi Brass Sculpture of a Head - PF.3273
Origin: Central Burkina Faso
Circa: 20 th Century AD
Dimensions: 10" (25.4cm) high x 5.5" (14.0cm) wide
Collection: African
Medium: Brass

Location: United States
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At the end of the 15th century, warrior ancestors of the Mossie people subjugated and then intermarried with the indigenous groups of the White Volta River(now called Nakanbe) basin, and established an empire. This centralized society produced a tradition of figural sculptures connoting chiefly prestige. For chiefs, the sculptures served as symobls of office and as memorials after their deaths. Often scarification patterns and body adornments were some indication of rank. This beautifully sculpted brass head is, then, most likely a memorial sculpture or a mark of high rank. It is sculpted with marvelous details and craftsmanship. The realistic shapes of the face and the head are graceful, and its large almond-shaped eyes look straight ahead, as if it is looking beyond this human world. The intricate details of the sculpture is also amazing. Each braid of the hair is finely depicted, each row ending above the nape in small coiling braids. And right above the smooth forehead, braids are decorated with rendition of cowrie shells. The figure also wears a fabulous neckpiece in which every small link is portrayed. It is evident that a lot of time, skill and artistic talent went into creating this beautiful sculpture which carries a regal, chiefly essence. Although we may not know who the sculpture represents, it is certain that it represents a dignified chief or a person of importance. And we are sure to appreciate the artistic beauty that comes through this sculpture for ages to come. - (PF.3273)


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