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Seattle Art Museum (SAM)

Male standing figure

Photo: Elizabeth Mann

Male standing figure

20th century

Lean and angular, this male figure was probably once costumed and carried into the artistic tornado of dance and singing duels that Nyamwezi leaders oversee. Wood sculptures were part of a full range of special effects employed to steal attention from the crowds—performers might swallow flames, bury themselves alive or set off smoke attacks. As this man’s face calmly wards off all intrusions, he undoubtedly witnessed many tricky maneuvers in this dazzling realm of creative competition.

Wood, natural pigments, and cloth
Height: 26in. (66cm)
Gift of Dr. Oliver E. and Pamela F. Cobb, in honor of Mark Groudine
Photo: Elizabeth Mann
Not currently on view


Exhibition HistorySeattle, Washington, Seattle Art Museum, African Art Takes a Stretch, May 24, 2014 - Sept. 7, 2015.

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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