H x W x D: 190.5 x 17.8 x 14.6 cm (75 x 7 x 5 3/4 in.)
Early to mid-20th century
A crescent moon above a female figure adorns the upper portion of this wooden post carved by a Tsogo or Sango artist from Gabon. Its male counterpart would have been a similarly carved post ornamented with a male figure and a low-relief sun above it.
Such figurative posts were erected for the cult houses of the Bwiti (or Bwete) society, particularly in the contexts of initiation and mortuary rituals, with the female post to the left of the entrance and the male to the right. The male-female pair may have reinforced the notion of community by emphasizing the importance of creating a family, completing initiation rites, and preserving the memory of those who passed away.
Post wtih a standing male figure, arms by sides, wearing a loin cloth, with the body decorated with raised scarification patterns and white pigment.
General exhibition, National Museum of Africa Art, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C., January 31, 2013-January 21, 2015
African Cosmos: Stellar Arts, National Museum of African Art, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C., June 20-December 9, 2012; Newark Museum, February 26-August 11, 2013; Los Angeles County Museum of Art, August 23-November 30, 2014; Michael C. Carlos Museum at Emory University, Atlanta, January 31-June 21, 2015 (exhibited at NMAfA)
African Vision: The Walt Disney-Tishman African Art Collection, National Museum of African Art, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C., February 15, 2007-March 31, 2009
Brincard, Marie-Thérèse. 2014. "The Neuberger Museum of Art: The African Collection." Tribal Art Magazine 71, p. 97, no. 5.
Kreamer, Christine Mullen. 2012. African Cosmos: Stellar Arts. Washington, D.C.: National Museum of African Art, Smithsonian Institution; New York: Monacelli Press, Smithsonian Institution, pp. 128-129, no. 7.19.
Kreamer, Christine Mullen, Bryna Freyer and Andrea Nicolls. 2007. African Vision: The Walt Disney-Tishman African Art Collection. Washington, D.C.: National Museum of African Art, pp. 36-37, no. 7.