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Seattle Art Museum (SAM)

Amulet Figure: Female Ancestor

Amulet Figure: Female Ancestor

20th century

Hippopotamus teeth and wart hog tusks underline the gentle curving shape of female figures on these pendants. Their heads incline, as if reflecting on the past. Such pendants evoke the memory of a deceased relative whose character is considered protection for the wearer. Suspended on a belt or on the arm, the faces of the figures have become worn and softened.
Ivory and Owo Yoruba fiber
3 11/16 x 3/4 x 7/8 in. (9.37 x 1.91 x 2.22 cm)
Nasli and Alice Heeramaneck Collection
Not currently on view


Exhibition HistorySeattle, Washington, Seattle Art Museum, A Bead Quiz, July 1, 2008 - July 1, 2009
Published ReferencesFelix, Marc Leo, White Gold, Black Hands: Ivory Sculpture in Congo, vol. 5, (Qiquhar, Heilungkiang, China: Gemini Sun, 2013), fig. G4, p. 48 (color).

Seattle Art Museum respectfully acknowledges that we are on Indigenous land, the traditional territories of the Coast Salish people. We honor our ongoing connection to these communities past, present, and future.

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