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Arts and Sciences Today
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Sub-Saharan African Art

From the collection of Dr. Martha Ehrlich

This exhibition offers a wide range of stone, wood, metal and fiber from traditional African cultures. Ranging from the Neolithic era to the 20th century, all of these pieces are comments on deeply-felt beliefs and the aesthetic ideals of the peoples who made them, whether they were intended for utilitarian use as pottery, cloth, weapons or seating, for religious use as masks or figures, or to enhance the prestige of leaders. Through their forms and meanings, these objects serve as points of contact between the living, the ancestors and the spirit world.

Below are images of a selection of pieces that can be seen in the exhibition. Click each image to see a larger view.

Click here to view Dr. Ehrlich's faculty page

[IMAGE: Fante Gunpowder Stool]
Fante, Ghana
20th C.
Wood male leader's "gunpowder" stool

[IMAGE: Asante Chiefs Stool]
Asante, Ghana
20th C.
Chief's stool with silver ornaments; male pattern; large size indicates important leader

[IMAGE: Boni Headrest]
Boni, Somalia
20th C.
Man's wood headrest

[IMAGE: Shona Headrest]
Shona, Zimbabwe
1874-1894
Softwood headrest

[IMAGE: Kuba Tukula Container]
Kuba, Dem. Rep. of the Congo
20th C.
Wooded cylindrical container for tukula (camwood powder)

[IMAGE: Asante Kuduo]
Asante, Ghana
1600s
Cast brass kuduo; valuables container; early type close to Islamic prototypes

[IMAGE: Asante Shrine Spoon]
Asante, Ghana
c. 1700
Cast brass ring-top shrine spoon

[IMAGE: Asante State Sword]
Asante, Ghana
20th C.
State sword, openwork iron blade with hornbill, wood handle with traces of gold leaf

[IMAGE: Mangbetu Throwin Knife]
Mangbetu, Dem. Rep. of the Congo
20th C.
Man's throwing knife, iron, wood

[IMAGE: Asante Swordbearers Hat]
Asante, Ghana
20th C.
State swordbearer's hat; rawhide covered with sheet gold with attached wood objects covered in sheet gold

[IMAGE: Asante Linguist Staff]
Asante, Ghana
20th C.
"Linguist" staff ( okyeamepoma); complete, 3 pieces, hen with chicks

[IMAGE: Asante Linguist Staff]
Asante, Ghana
20th C.
"Linguist" staff finial ( okyeamepomatire); wood, gold leaf, chameleon on box of clothes

[IMAGE: Asante Linguist Staff]
Asante, Ghana
20th C.
Wood "linguist" staff finial of a Sankofa bird

[IMAGE: Yoruba Shrine Lamp]
Yoruba, Nigeria
20th C.
Elaborate forged iron shrine lamp with eight birds

[IMAGE: Dida Raffia Skirt]
Dida, Ivory Coast
20th C.
Woven, tie-dyed tubular raffia skirt; ceremonial wear

[IMAGE: Yoruba Gelede Mask]
Yoruba, Nigeria
20th C.
Wood Gelede mask

[IMAGE: Ibo Maiden Spirit Mask]
Ibo, Nigeria
20th C.
Wood beautiful maiden spirit of the men's Mmwo society

[IMAGE: Ogoni Female Mask]
Ogoni, Nigeria
20th C.
Wood female mask with black "corkscrew" hairdo

[IMAGE: Ogoni Eket Face Mask]
Ogoni/Eket, Nigeria
20th C.
Small wood face mask with coats of red paint; for yam harvest dance

[IMAGE: Asante Akuaba]
Asante, Ghana
20th C.
Small wood akuaba with square eyes

[IMAGE: Yoruba Ibeji Figure]
Yoruba, Nigeria
Early 20th C.
Old male Ibeji figure with long neck, small head, hands free of body

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