Art/ Collection/ Art Object

Female Figure

Artist:
Zlan of Belewale
Date:
before 1960
Geography:
Liberia
Culture:
Dan peoples
Medium:
Wood, fiber, pigment, cloth, metal
Dimensions:
H. 23 x W. 5 1/2 x D. 5 in. (58.4 x 14 x 12.7 cm)
Classification:
Wood-Sculpture
Credit Line:
The Michael C. Rockefeller Memorial Collection, Purchase, Nelson A. Rockefeller Gift, 1964
Accession Number:
1978.412.499
On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 352
In Dan society, sculptures of women are prestige objects that reflect positively both on their owners' and their subjects' reputations. Among the most costly of Dan expressive forms, they are commissioned by men to honor an especially esteemed wife. The sculptures are conceived of as portraits of the women they depict, although this and other examples suggest an overarching emphasis on established Dan ideals of feminine beauty. This figure is attributed to the sculptor Zlan (d. 1960), who is known for elegantly modeled features and finely carved details such as this woman's elaborate scarification.
[Henri Kamer, Paris and New York, until 1964]; The Museum of Primitive Art, New York, 1964–1978

The American Federation of Arts. Primitive Art Masterworks: an exhibition jointly organized by the Museum of Primitive Art and the American Federation of Arts, New York. New York: The American Federation of Arts, 1974, no. 66.

Newton, Douglas. Masterpieces of Primitive Art: The Nelson A. Rockefeller Collection. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1978, p. 109.

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