Namji Doll #4
This wonderful figure is 13 1/2”high x 7 1/2”wide” from the tip of his toes to the top of his head. The figure is made of a hard wood and has red and many coloured beads as ornamentation. It is a very dramatic and lively figure.
This figure was bought at the Accra Artisan Market. The doll has traveled far and looks like the arm has been mended at some point.
Doing some research on the Internet I came across ‘The African Art Museum; an on-line reference to the artistic styles of Africa’ And they talk about the Namji Doll:
‘The Namji people live in the west of the north Cameroon. They created a wide variety of important tribal dolls used by young girls and older women. The dolls are held by young Namji women to ensure their fertility. These dolls in general can have duel objectivity. In special cases where an older woman is having trouble conceiving or bearing a child, perceived objects of play can become serious items of worship that are believed to possess magical, spiritual qualities. These items are known as fetishes such as the present one. They are crafted specially for the individual in need by one select carver. The doll is then endowed with supernatural powers by the Nganga (tribal spiritualist) in hopes to grant the wish of the patron. The object is subject to food offerings and prayer on a regular basis by the owner to maintain the objects’ level of power. They are carved from wood and then usually decorated with various decorative items like beads, shells, coins, metal strips, fiber, leather, fur and others.’ http://zyama.com/namji/index.htm
This figure looks very much like a Namji Doll with its beads and leather decoration. It has a lovely, vital feel.