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Female Figurine

late 1800s-early 1900s
Overall: 17 x 5.8 x 4.2 cm (6 11/16 x 2 5/16 x 1 5/8 in.)
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Location: not on view

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The carvings in the figure’s abdomen reflect the custom of body scarification among the Beembe people.

Description

Beembe figurines generally have greatly detailed anatomical and decorative features. The scarification among Beembe men and women communicated their ideas about local beauty and ethnic belonging. These figures are charged with an ancestor’s spirit through a mixture of resin and human-derived ingredients—taken from the corpse of the person they possibly portray—into a small cavity near the rectum.
Female Figurine

Female Figurine

late 1800s-early 1900s

Africa, Central Africa, Republic of the Congo, Beembe-style maker

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