Carved figure of breastfeeding woman, West Africa, 1890-1920
This carved statue of a breastfeeding woman reputedly comes from the Yoruba people of West Africa. It is made of a solid block of ebony. The woman is said to represent Odudua. She is an Earth Goddess and ancestral mother figure within Yoruba mythology. In either context the statue acts as a fertility symbol. These represent growth and healing in many African societies. They help induce pregnancy and ensure a safe delivery. The statue wears an amulet necklace. It bears the raised marks of scarification on her face. These raised scars are considered marks of great beauty within many African cultures.
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A sculpture in the round representing human or animal figures or small figure groups; a statuette is a smaller sculpture.
Glossary: breast feeding
The process of synthesising milk from the breasts, usually a child from its mother.
Glossary: indigenious beliefs