West Africa, Nigeria, Igbo peoples, ca. early 20th century CE. A tall, hanc-carved wooden figural statue known as an "alusi" - meaning a deity or spirit. The male figure has delineated legs, protruding genitalia, navel, and a line of incised squares that stop below the chest that slightly juts outward. The stylized visage is detailed with almond-shaped eyes, a long nose, and white pigments across the eyes and cheeks. A ridge from the neck and down the center of the head forms the coiffure. A warm patina covers most of the surface. Alusi are placed in shrines and are venerated as family guardians. The scarification marks on the stomach are for beautification and indicate adulthood, while the white on the face indicates purity. Size: 36" L x 6.5" W (91.4 cm x 16.5 cm)
Provenance: ex-old private New England, USA collection, acquired in the 1970s; ex-major Florida, USA museum, gift of Rod McGalliard, prior to 1990, inv #1990.14.51
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Old losses to arms, feet, and face. Old iron nail in left arm for reinforcement. Inactive insect bore holes. Chips, nicks, and losses to high pointed areas. Stable fissures across legs and arms. Nice traces of chalky pigment.