Wooden figure of pregnant female

Made:
1880-1920 in West Africa
maker:
Unknown

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Science Museum Group Collection
© The Board of Trustees of the Science Museum

Science Museum Group Collection
© The Board of Trustees of the Science Museum

Carved wooden figure of pregnant female in standing position, arms clutching stomach, flat oval stylized face, Ivory Coast, West Africa, 1880-1920

Made of a solid block of wood this carved statue of a pregnant woman comes from the Ivory Coast of West Africa. The statue was possibly created as a fertility symbol. These represent growth and healing in West Africa. They are used to induce pregnancy and ensure a safe delivery. The statue has a flat, oval, stylised face. It is possible the marks on the stomach are the raised marks of scarification on the stomach. These raised scars are considered marks of great beauty within many African cultures.

Details

Category:
Ethnography and Folk Medicine
Object Number:
A192019
type:
statue
taxonomy:
  • visual and verbal communication
  • sculpture
credit:
Sothebys