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Currently shown

Funerary Ibis (mijoa)

Location

MADAGASCAR, WESTERN COAST

Culture

Sakalava

Title

Funerary Ibis (mijoa)

Date

Early 20th c.

Materials

Wood

Dimensions

66 x 15.5 x 15.8 cm

Credits

Gift of Paul and Leslie Benjamin, inv. 2015.252

Collection

Archeology and World Cultures

Among the Sakalava people, burial sites give the deceased their place within a moving universe. Their form, location and decoration indicate their status and, therefore, that of their descendants. Restoring and revamping them at regular intervals fostered the development of funerary sculpture. This reached its peak in the twentieth century, as the French conquest of the Kingdom of Menabe resulted in democratizing the building of sculpted tombal monuments. The first figural form to be introduced into funerary sculpture was that of the bird, a materialization of the very ancient concept of the creature as a link between the world of the living and of the dead. This work takes the form of an ibis (mijoa ), recognizable by its long, pointed beak.

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