Mossi Female Figure, Burkina Faso
- Height: 13 in (33 cm)
Drs. Nicole and John Dintenfass, New York, acquired from the above in 1995
Martin Lerner, New York, acquired from the above
The present figure is identifiable by its elongated torso and arms, sagittal crest, and high pointed breasts as the work of a Mossi sculptor of central Burkina Faso. According to Roy (1987: 152), "the Mossi produce several types of figures, including wooden figures that are used in burials, where they replace the corpse of the chief. Smaller wooden figures are used in village ceremonies that honor the chief [...] in contrast to masks, which are used by the Tengabisi in family religious ceremonies, figures are used by the Nakomsé in a political context, as visual affirmations of the nam or right to rule of the Naba."
Free standing Mossi figures are rare, and miniature examples rarer still. This elegant example bears an exceptionally fine, partially encrusted patina consistent with long ritual use. See Roy (ibid.: 10 and 161, fig. 128) for a large size figure of closely related style.