Art Cards Unit 6 Africa

Terms in this set (14)

Date: mid-18th century to mid-19th century
Location: Gabon
Form: wood and iron, 58.4 cm high, elongated torso, large rounded head, eyes look down, closed mouth, arms clasped together, coiffure, tubular body and limbs; male and female figures, face is stylized, abstraction (spiritual), conceptual
Function: guarded reliquary (a container of relics), talisman (an object with supernatural properties that protects from evil or brings good luck), protected box; also served as puppets during young men's initiations to education them about their ancestors
Content: "great man"= high status, noble, who lived a long and good life, lineage heads, clan heads, special warriors, craftsmen, women; tranquil and power, coiled up energy,dignified; emphasis on belly button (where umbilical cord first gives life to humans just as reliquary is guarding remains of deceased who have returned back into the spiritual world and wait for rebirth)
Context: reliquary usually contained skulls and/or bones of important community members or ancestors together with potent objects and medicine; kept in reliquary instead of stationary cemetery because of semi-nomadic society; probably maintained by elder men in community; popular hairstyle at the time for high status men
So What: the figure and the relics are similar to modern day family heirlooms, showing how different cultures also have an appreciation for their ancestors
So What: Ikenga is not a portrait but a symbolic representation of a person's power and achievements, and we see this theme not only in other African art, but throughout time- such as the votive figures that didn't represent the person but their spiritual intent
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