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Chamba Standing Male Abstract Arms Nigeria African Art

Regular Price: $295.00

Special Price: $192.00

Product #: 94379
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Title Chamba Standing Male Abstract Arms Nigeria Africa
Type of Object Figure, Carving, Statue, Sculpture
Country of Origin Nigeria
People Chamba
Materials Wood,
Approximate Age 20th century
Dimensions 19 inches tall x 5 inches wide x 5.25 inches deep
Overall Condition fair
Damage/Repair right hand broken off. wobbly. chips, scratches and shallow cracks


Additional Information:


This male figure comes from the Chamba people or their neighbors.  The Chamba are a small group living south of the Benue River in Northern Nigeria in an area of mixed art and influences.  Their sculptures show stylistic affinities to the Wurkum and Mumuye to the north resulting in an exchange of sculptures and styles through time between these groups.  This is an good example of Chamba sculpture: the cubist abstraction of the shoulders, the protruding lips and eight-shaped ears. Complex scarrification patterns line the torso and face.  The surface shows much handling and some age.


Little is known regarding Chamba sculptures, but it has been reported that figures such as this are used in cult activity, known as Jup, ones dominated by men, or, in the case of women, Jem. Jem practices are directed to the life issues of disease, death, and misfortune, which they can cause and cure.  Jup activity cuts across all aspects of Chamba life and family relationships; it is music, dance, performance, as it defines ethical and moral codes and is the means to adjust and control the seen and unseen. Jup names animals, rituals, things of the bush, the dead and the living. In fact Jup is an integral part of Chamba life and in order to name the function a figure it is necessary to know the context. Sculpted figures as well as any number of other objects were known as Jup and were publicly or secretively displayed during ceremonies or rituals. 


The Chamba, whose number today is estimated to be 20,000, settled in northern Nigeria, on the southern bank of the Benue River. They are divided into small kingdoms each headed by a king assisted by a council of elders whose powers are regulated by male and female secret societies within which art has a prominent role as a symbol of transformation during funerals, initiation and to control the forces of untamed nature.




 Recommended Reading:


Sieber, Roy. Sculpture of Northern Nigeria, 1961.


Sieber, R. and Tony Vevers. Interaction: the art styles of the Benue River and East Nigeria. 1974.


Wittmer, M.K. and W. Arnett, Three Rivers of Nigeria, Art of the Lower Niger, Cross and Benue, 1978.