Hello and Hi !
I forgot to write in the previous message that the puppets can be standing or sitting (while the dolls are always standing - as far as I know).
So, this is an Ekong puppet from the french book "Arts du Nigéria".
Here is a translated summary of the comments written by Jill Salmons :
"Without doubt, this Ekong puppet represents a Mbobo who just comes out from the "fatting house". She has a braided hairdressing, wears a large coral pearl on each of her wrists, another one as a pendant, has multiple rows of small pearls around her waist and copper spirals around her legs. This sculpture shows a bulging navel which is considered as a sign of beauty.
The attitude of the figure, with constrained/fixed mouth and limbs, suggests a secondary use : it probably has its place in a sanctuary/on an altar. But it still has the characteristic features of the
Mbobo when the Ekong is in performance : stretched arms, open hands with palms up.
This piece must be attributed to the genius anang sculptor, Akpan Chukpu from Utu Etim Ekpo (Abak) and has been made in the first decades of the 20th century.
His son, Akpan Akpan Chukwu, keeps his family traditions going by sculpting puppets for local communities. In the 70s, he started selling his pieces in shops of Ekot Ekpene."
In the same book is written that "Utughu shows" (puppets shows) are still performed among the Anang. They were parts of festivals (with mascarades, dancers on stilts, magicians, puppeteers, musicians and funambulists) which took place once every 7 years. Puppets could also embody vices : avarice, pride/arrogance, dishonesty etc and characters as the Hausa merchant, the policeman, etc.
For further reading in good english : J.C. Messenger "Anang art, drama and social control" in African Studies n°2, 1962. (if
someone finds this article, I would love to get a photocopy !).
Well well, that's it for today.
I hope it was understandable.
Have a nice week.
Brings words and photos together (easily) with
- it's free and works with Yahoo! Mail.