Kresge Art Museum
African Art: Western Eyes

Male and female figure

Nakwabi peoples, Ghana
Nakwabi peoples, Ghana
Wood, cloth, metal, chain
Gift of Jean-Pierre Diane, 65.151

Although little is known about the history of this pair, it has been suggested that they may have been used in a religious context. Instead of being owned by individuals, they were probably part of domestic shrines belonging to an extended family. These abstracted figures are representations of ancestors. They did not function as specific portraits; rather they are generalized images that are meant to visualize the importance of a family's heritage. Such works increase the efficacy of devotional practices performed at shrines by calling forth positive ancestral influences.