Ancestral Asen Artist: Fon Master of the Long-Horned Ram

early 20th century

African Art

On view, 1st floor, African Art

Asen are portable altars with elaborate figural tableaux honoring the ancestors of a family. They serve as a conduit for interactions between the visible world of the living and the invisible realm of the spirits. Groups of asen are placed in a prayer room, where they are offered sacrifices and consulted for advice on important questions. The scenes shown on the platforms could relate to proverbs or praise poems. The figural group in this asen probably shows the head of a lineage, indicated by an elaborate chair, a top hat, and an umbrella–all attributes of authority. On the table are bottles of imported alcohol, further evidence of his high status.

Medium

Iron, cloth, and encrustation

Dimensions

75 × 20 × 20 in. (190.5 × 50.8 × 50.8 cm)

Credit Line

Charles B. Benenson, B.A. 1933, Collection

Accession Number

2006.51.482

Culture

Fon

Period

20th century

Classification
Disclaimer

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 records is ongoing.

Provenance

Provenance

Charles B. Benenson Collection, Greenwich, Conn; Yale University Art Gallery, New Haven, Conn.
Bibliography

  • Frederick John Lamp, Amanda Maples, and Laura M. Smalligan, Accumulating Histories: African Art from the Charles B. Benenson Collection at the Yale University Art Gallery (New Haven, Conn.: Yale University Art Gallery, 2012), 279, ill.
  • "Acquisitions, July 1, 2005–June 30, 2006," Yale University Art Gallery Bulletin (2006): 222.
  • Yale University Art Gallery Bulletin (2004): ill. cover.

Object copyright
Additional information

Object/Work type

staffs

Technical metadata and APIs

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