Although this mother and child appear to serve as the caryatid support of a stool, such sculptures from Nigeria's Benue Valley were designed to be held aloft as the focal point around which dances were choreographed. In a closely related regional tradition, Afo maternity shrine figures were similarly the focus of annual ceremonies. On such occasions, gifts and other sacrifices ere directed toward them by women who hoped to conceive.
Paul and Ruth W. Tishman, New York, acquired by 1976, until 1996
Nooter, Nancy Ingram, and Warren Robbins. African Art in American Collections: Survey 1989. Washington, DC: Smithsonian Institution Press, 1989, no. 732, p. 181.
Hecht, Barry, Roy Sieber, John Mack, and Tom Phillips. Africa: The Art of a Continent. London, Munich, and New York: Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, 1996.