West Africa, Nigeria, ca. 200 to 1000 CE. A huge stone carving of a pregnant woman, depicted in a manner that is wonderfully abstract. The woman stands, her legs together to form a column, with her hands resting against her massive, conch shell shaped, pregnant stomach. Her belly button protrudes from the center into a point. Above, her breasts are clearly visible. Her face is dramatic, with huge, almond-shaped eyes that bulge outward, a wide nose, and a large, open mouth with the tongue protruding. Small divots at either side of the head form ears. The remains of a carved coiffure are just visible at the top of the head. Figures like this one were used as memorial stones or grave markers, inserted into the ground by their columnar legs, and are very rare - made in one of west Africa's earliest centers of ironworking and pottery production. Size: 15" L x 6" W x 32" H (38.1 cm x 15.2 cm x 81.3 cm); 35" H (88.9 cm) on included custom stand.
Provenance: private Hawaii, USA collection; ex-private DeRoche collection, Piedmont, California, USA
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Extensive weathering on surface, with pitting and small losses, all commensurate with age. Extensive reddish soil deposits. Form is still clear.