Bird Head On A Stand

Bidyogo peoples

Bissagos Island

Bird Head on a Stand, n.d.

  • On View

Wood

Dimensions: 16 × 8 3/4 in. (40.6 × 22.2 cm)

Gift of Justice and Mrs. G. Mennen Williams, 1973.4

According to Bidgyogo culture the soul only finds peace after death if a wood statue is carved within which it can rest. These statues are both memorials to the deceased and dwelling places for the soul. They often depict a figure seated on a stool, in this case a hornbill, a bird found throughout Sub-Saharan Africa. In Bidgyogo and many African cultures, birds are sacred and bringers of fertility. The Bidgyogo peoples associate the hornbill with motherhood and protection.

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