BURKINA FASO, EARLY 20TH CENTURY
This highly stylized human figure called "kotina" is comprised of a long phallic neck supported by two legs in an inverted V-shape. A semi-spherical bulge beautifully renders the face. The carved ring shape at the top of the legs is a noteworthy and rare feature in Dagari sculpture. The accumulated sacrificial deposits have caused the formation of a deep encrusted patina. Kotina figures were placed on family altars in the thilda, a small shrine which served to honor the ancestors, please the spirits and protect the community. The wooden figures were also considered to be beings gifted with speech, but their language could only be understood by the diviner/seer. To the Dagari people, the kotina are the "talking wooden people" or, quite simply, the "talking woods."
Carved wood, encrusted patina
31.25 x 14.5 in. (79.36 x 36.83 cm.)
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