Art/ Collection/ Art Object

Figure: Mother and Child

19th–20th century
Nigeria, Benue River Valley region
Lower Benue Valley peoples
H. 23 3/4 in. (60.3 cm)
Credit Line:
Gift of Paul and Ruth W. Tishman, 1996
Accession Number:
On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 352
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.

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