Ancestral figure

ASK 0601-1

Ancestral, protective figure, ‘Yendu tchitcheri’, Moba, Togo

The Moba people, who live in northern Togo on the border of Burkina Faso, are known for their highly abstract, human figures. Among the Moba this small iron figure is called ‘Yendu tchitcheri’.

There are three varieties of these types of ancestral, protective figures. According to size and use they have three different names: ‘Yendu tchitcheri’ are small figures made of wood or iron, they are individual, personal, protective figures and are placed on alters. ‘Bavong tchitcheri’ are medium sized figures made of wood representing an important ancestor. Placed upon the house alter of each individual family they are honored and given sacrificial offerings. The ‘Sakab tchitcheri’ are the largest of the three. They are (almost) life size wooden figures and represent an important clan founder, they are placed outside the village and thereby also protects the village as a whole.

Age: Est. first half of the 20th century.

Provenance: Belgian private collection.

Dimensions: H: 13,5 cm, W: 5,5 cm, D: 1,2 cm, Weight: 95 gram

Peroni Pierluigi: ‘Micro Monumentality’ A tribute to Miniature Works of African Art.
Schädler K.F.: Encyclopedia of African Art and Culture. fig. p. 438.

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