A Decorative Early 20thC North African Polychrome Carved Wooden Male Ancestor Figure


Origin: Moroccan
Period: Early Twentieth Century
Provenance: Unknown
Date: c.1910
Height: 22 inches
Width: 6.5 inches
Depth: 5.5 inches (all at maximum)

The ceremonial carved and disproportionate male figure, standing with an oversize Mohican head, painted with polychrome highlights in rust, ebony and ivory, the figure perched on a stylised wooden log.

The figure does show its age, (which is actually quite nice) there is some damage (cracking) to the base with an old amateur repair, some loss to the reverse, and a small section to the face that is looser but it remains structurally sound. There are a few bored holes present to the upper forearms which we believe were used to mount him.

These types of statues would have helped to keep the memory of the ancestors; and would have been kept in the huts of important persons and used in celebrations. They were created to evoke respect, dignity, wisdom, symmetry, equilibrium, refinement, a meditative mood and a presence that transcends the short period of life. Typically they have a compact body, a relatively large head, almond shaped eyes and the bases are often worm ridden from sitting on the bare ground.

This is quite a large figure, wonderfully decorative, and he brings an instant feeling of the well travelled wherever he is placed.