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Seattle Art Museum (SAM)

Female Figure: Kaponya wa Mwana Pwo

Photo: Elizabeth Mann

Female Figure: Kaponya wa Mwana Pwo

early 20th century

Awkward angularity infects this portrayal of a Chokwe spirit woman. Chokwe sculptors are far better known for a court art that depicts ancestors in naturalistic terms. This figure with elongated limbs and slightly tilted torso is likely to have been kept by a person of high social status, or by a diviner who sought the insight of a female ancestor. Drawn upright, shoulders down, and seeming to concentrate with her eyes shut, this figure achieves balance despite her extraordinarily elongated limbs.

27 × 5 1/2 × 3 in. (68.6 × 14 × 7.6 cm)
Gift of Mark Groudine and Cynthia Putnam
Provenance: [Papa Alle Gueye, Paris]; acquired in exchange from Mr. Gueye by Mark Groudine and Cynthia Putnam, Seattle, July 2013
Photo: Elizabeth Mann
Not currently on view


Published ReferencesRodrigues de Areia, M.L., et al. Chokwe and Their Bantu Neighbours. Zürich: Jean David & Gerhard Merzeder, 2003, fig. 109

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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