Standing female figure

Suku peoples
19th–20th century
more object details

General Description

Posed in a flex-kneed position, this biteki is distinguished by a roughly diamond-shaped head from which the nose and mouth project at a sharp angle. The prominent collarlike shoulders blend into the arms bent at the elbow. The hands are joined at chest level.

Suku figure carvings were used as receptacles or supports for magical preparations that can cause or cure illness and protect the owner and his home. The herbal preparations were made for a specific purpose and packed into holes in the figure or placed in bags that were either attached to or hung from the figure. This figure exemplifies one method of "charging" the sculpture with magical preparations. The encrusted surface of its face and neck suggests the figure was anointed with sacrificial materials.

Excerpt from

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