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Chamba Standing Male Figure On Stand Nigeria African Art

Product #: 92380
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Title Chamba Standing Male Figure On Stand Nigeria Africa
Type of Object Figure, carving
Country of Origin Nigeria
People Chamba, see also Kaka or Montol
Materials Wood, beads
Approximate Age Mid 20th century
Dimensions 18 inches H. x 4.5 inches W.
Overall Condition Fair.  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 worn patina with chips and scratches, shallow cracks in head, stain in head, chips from old insect damage arrested

Additional Information: A male figure probably comes from the Chamba people or neighbors. Chamba  are a small group today 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 style of the body and the bold rounded head with a heart-shaped face are more likely of Chamba style. 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 that is in the main dominated by men or in the case of women, Jem. Jup 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 for 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 head features a projectile like in the middle. 

 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.