Fon people, Benin, 1900-1950
Wood, cord, beads
Height : 32,5 cm
Provenance : Collected in situ by Ann de Pauw & Luc Huysveld
Publication : "KunstKammer"
(M. Doustar, 2017), n°73
The Fon people are a major African ethnic and linguistic group, notably the largest group in Benin found particularly in its south region; they are also found in southwest Nigeria and Togo. The history of the Fon people is closely linked to the Dahomey kingdom.
The traditional Fon religion is regionally called Vodoun, wich is etymologically linked t Vodun- a term that refers to their theological concept of "numerous immortal spirits and deities".
It centers around the ancestors, whose protection and benevolence is sought through yearly offerings.
During the height of the Dahomey Empire, the royal lineage paid annual tribute to its ancestors at a spectacular gathering known as the Annual Custom, which culminated with the sacrifice of about a hundred slaves and war captives. This was only exceeded by the Grand Custom, Which was held after the death of a ruler.; Among the citizens of Dahomey offerings were often made to botchio ( wooden statues ). These statues, wich are still carved today, are used by individual families for protection and embody the well-being of the village. The botchio are rubbed with palm oil as a prayer to the ancestors, wich results sometimes in the polished look we have come to expect in similar objects found in museum collections. The present figure, an unusually well carved and early example, has traces of palm oil on the top its head and shoulders, and a very expressive face that reminds somewhat the Yoruba. A wooden stick is planted in its chest and attached with a cord around his waist.
Price : 3.500 €