Africa Direct
Africa Direct

Bassa Divination Female Scarification Liberia African Art 21 Inch

AvailabilityIn stock
Special Price $390.00 Regular Price $750.00
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Brand Unbranded
Title Bassa Divination Female Scarification Liberia African Art 21 Inch
Type of Object Carving, Figure, Statue, Sculpture
Country of Origin Liberia
People Bassa
Materials Wood, pigment
Approximate Age 20th century
Height (in) 21
Width (in) 9
Depth (in) 15
Dimensions Height: 21 Inches
Width: 9 Inches
Depth: 15 Inches
Height: 21 Inches
Width: 9 Inches
Depth: 15 Inches
Overall Condition Good. Most of our pieces have spent decades on at least two continents, and have been treasured by several owners.   Small splits, scrapes and cracks are a normal part of their patina attesting to their age and extensive use.  We examine each piece carefully when we receive it and report any damage we find in our listings.  Please look carefully at the pictures which may also reveal condition and damage.
Damage/Repair Repairs to hands, edge of hair, chip right top
Additional Information: A seated female figure is carved in a strong style typical to the Bassa people. This example is a pure Bassa sculpture with all details found on typical Bassa Figures. The head and face of this figure are carved in a similar manner as the better known Bassa masks called Geh-naw that dances in graceful and feminine movements to accompany the boys when they return to their village after having been initiated into the men’s society. The facial features are expressive. The elaborate braided hairstyle and markings on chest and abdomen are evidences that the figure represents a mature or initiate female.
This is a divination figure. magic items would have been placed behind the removable feet. amd in the openings of the hair above the forehead.

The Bassa have several female and male societies, including chu-den-zo, to whom gela (geh-naw). The Bassa are relatives of the Dan, who live to their northeast, mostly in Cote d'Ivoire. They have absorbed much from Dan culture, including the usage and appearance of their arts. Occupying the geographic center of Liberia, the Bassa live in scattered small villages, and cultivate rice and other crops. They do not have a centralized government or paramount chief, and depend on secret societies like the "Poro" to maintain order and social cohesion. Masks are the primary modes of expression for the Bassa, as well as their Mande relatives, and figures are rare and poorly documented. What is known is that statues are reportedly carved to honor "favorite wife," or other important family member or ancestor. These figures served to honor women of good character and generous spirit. They were hidden and not, as far as we know, used ritually by the village as a whole. They are personal in nature, and thus each one has a unique meaning.