Lot: 28

Shrine figure "iran otiba(n)go" ("tamed spirit")

Guinea-Bissau, Bissagos Islands, Bidjogo

Provenance Size Hammer price
Eugene and Harriet R. Becker, Great Neck, USA
Anne M. Spencer, Newark, USA
Newark Museum, USA (deaccessioned 2019)
Herrmann Sommerhage, Duisburg, Germany (2021)
H: 15 inch sold

wood, pigments, base

The Bidjogo figures are called "iran"; the Bidjogo use this word for everything they consider sacred. The sculptures are the personifications of the ancestor deities, "ounika", and are placed in special shrines that are put up in the huts. These shrines are usually veiled so that the figures cannot be seen.

The figures are usually associated with fertility and high crop yields. They regularly receive offerings, as evidenced by the heavily encrusted surface of the present figure.

The "iran" figures have various styles, varying from naturalistic to abstract.

Afrikanische Skulptur, Die Erfindung der Figur, Museum Ludwig Köln 1990, p. 104 ff.

ADHRC: 0167580