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Female Figurine

Female Figurine

late 1800s-early 1900s

Wood, ceramic, copper alloy

Overall: 17 x 5.8 x 4.2 cm (6 11/16 x 2 5/16 x 1 5/8 in.)

René and Odette Delenne Collection, Leonard C. Hanna, Jr. Fund 2010.429

Fun Fact

The carvings in the figure’s abdomen reflect the custom of body scarification among the Beembe people.

Description

Beembe figurines generally have greatly detailed anatomical and decorative features. The scarification among Beembe men and women communicated their ideas about local beauty and ethnic belonging. These figures are charged with an ancestor’s spirit through a mixture of resin and human-derived ingredients—taken from the corpse of the person they possibly portray—into a small cavity near the rectum.

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