Male figure

DATE:
200 BCE–200 CE
MATERIAL AND TECHNIQUE:
Terracotta
CLASSIFICATION:
Sculpture
DIMENSIONS:
Overall: 19 1/4 x 9 x 8 in. (48.895 x 22.86 x 20.32 cm)
DEPARTMENT:
Arts of Africa
LOCATION:
Arts of Africa, Level 3
CREDIT LINE:
Dallas Museum of Art, The Eugene and Margaret McDermott Art Fund, Inc.
OBJECT NUMBER:
1994.195.McD

General Description

A carefully modeled hairstyle and elaborate beard frame the face of this male figure. The slightly opened mouth and heavy eyelids over pierced eyes combine to give him a severe expression. His prominent herniated navel is common in the sculptures of sub-Saharan cultures. Based on his beard and adornments, the figure probably represents a political ruler, a religious leader, or a man of high social rank, with a staff, scepter, ceremonial weapon, or adze slung over his shoulder.

The oldest extant African artworks outside of Egypt were discovered in Nok, a village in the plateau region of central Nigeria. Most of the sculptures date from 900 BC to 600 BCE. The connection between Nok and Sokoto, located hundreds of miles to the northwest, has yet to be determined, but some scholars relate the Sokoto works within those dates to a peripheral Nok style.

Excerpt from

Roslyn A. Walker, Label text, Arts of Africa, 2015.

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