Shrine Figure (misi or mishi)

Shrine Figure (misi or mishi)

late 1800s-early 1900s

Wood and cotton

Overall: 48.6 x 15.6 x 17.2 cm (19 1/8 x 6 1/8 x 6 3/4 in.)

Gift of Katherine C. White 1969.10


This figure was used in an ancestral cult dedicated to the founders of small political groupings. Such figures were usually kept in the same shrine with a number of stylistically related male and female carvings that represented ancestors. At times of crisis, the custodian of the shrine spent the night in close proximity to the images, bringing offerings to the ancestors in exchange for their support.

See also
African Art
African Art
Type of artwork: 

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