Janus Figure

late 1800s-early 1900s
Location: not on view
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Did You Know?

The opposite faces refer to a dualistic philosophy, a threshold between past and future.


This Janus figure features opposing faces and symbolizes change and transformation. A cavity in the top of the head served to hold ingredients with magical and medicinal qualities. The figure played a pivotal role in cults dedicated to the ancestors; in exchange for prayers, libations, and offerings, the ancestors were asked to safeguard the well-being and fertility of the population.
Janus Figure

Janus Figure

late 1800s-early 1900s

Africa, Central Africa, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Hemba-style maker

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