African Art
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Female Figure

early to mid-19th century

Wood, porcelain, pitch, and metal

9 x 3 1/2 x 2 1/2 in. (22.86 x 8.89 x 6.35 cm)
Gift of Mr. and Mrs. James M. Osborn for the Linton Collection of African Art
1955.61.18
The elaborate hairstyle of this female figure identifies her as being of high social status. In her hands, she holds a drinking or medicinal horn and a bottle, possibly of imported schnapps, a further indication of her rank and wealth or of her role as a medium healer. Originally, the figure was probably wearing a cloth.
Culture: 
Yombe
Period: 
19th century
Classification: 
Sculpture
Geography: 
Country Loango Coast, Republic of the Congo
Country Democratic Republic of the Congo
Country Angola
Status: 
On view
Provenance: 

Ethnologische Abtheilung Koenigliches Museum, Berlin [1875 publication]
Collected by Güssfeld [1908 publication]
Museum für Völkerkunde in Berlin [1908 publication]
Dr. Ralph Linton, Sterling Professor of Anthropology at Yale, unknown date–1953
Mr. and Mrs. James M. Osborn donated to Yale University Art Gallery for the Linton Collection of African Art in 1955

Bibliography: 

Wilhelm Joest, Festschrift für Adolf Bastian zu seinem 70 Geburtstage (Berlin: D. Reimer, 1896), 122, fig. 1–2.

Robert Farris Thompson, Flash of the Spirit: African and Afro-American art and philosophy (New York: Random House, 1983), 125, fig. plate 74.

Sarah Adams, Call and Response: Journeys of African Art, exh. cat. (New Haven, Conn.: Yale University Art Gallery, 2000), 6–7, fig. 6.

Robert Farris Thompson, “Icons for the Brave and Generous: Kongo Art at Yale,” Yale University Art Gallery Bulletin (2005): 83–84, fig. 3–4.

Frederick John Lamp, “Hot Space, Cool Space: The Reinstallation of the African Art Collection in the Louis Kahn Building at Yale University,” African Arts 40 (Summer 2007): 51, fig. 18.

Note: This electronic record was created from historic documentation that does not necessarily reflect the Yale University Art Gallery’s complete or current knowledge about the object. Review and updating of such records is ongoing.