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Highlights: African Art

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Image of Female Figure

Boa Peoples

Female Figure

20th century

Object Type: Sculpture
25 1/4 in. x 6 3/4 in. x 5 1/4 in. (64.14 cm x 17.15 cm x 13.34 cm)
Medium and Support: Wood and pigment
Accession Number: 2013.0017.0010

Credit Line: Gift of Dileep and Martha Mehta

The Boa or Ababua (population about 200,000) live in Central Africa, north of the Zaire River, in the Democratic Republic of Congo. They subsist by hunting, fishing, and hoe farming, but little is known about them or their art. Their carved wooden figures may have been used as grave sculptures. Alternatively, figures like this may function like similar-looking "lilwa" figures from the Mbole culture that lives south of the Zaire River. Those represent persons hanged for revealing the secrets of lilwa rituals.

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