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A fine Eastern Pende Panya-Gombe African mask. Coll.: David Norden

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Moba -Togo- BischeimThe Moba statues can be found at the village entry, North of Togo, but can also be viewed in France till October 3, 2004. photo: Cédric Joubert- DNA.traces des Moba Togo (en Français)
African tribes>West Africa>Guinea-Coast

Between Ghana and Nigeria you find the Moba in the North of Togo. Recently rediscovered for it's artistic qualities, the Moba  protective ancestors statuary is characterized, by elongated, eroded, vertical statues.

Without face and only made by a trunck of wood with some very stylized arms and legs, the Moba has a very strong visual expression, that appeals to your imagination.

The Moba tribe is already known since the XVIIth century, but it is only the last 20 years since the Islamisation, that that they where rediscovered for the artistic qualities.

 Three different genres of tchitcheri may be distinguished by their patronage, contextual placement, scale, and degree of abstraction. The smallest of these, yendu tchitcheri, are placed in personal shrines, which all adults possess. They do not represent any particular person or ancestor but are considered an individual's direct link with God. Middle-size bawoong tchitcheri (between 25 and 90 centimeters high) are designed for household shrines situated prominently in the vestibule of a family compound. These figures represent recent ancestors, such as the parents or grandparents of current compound leaders (no more than three or four generations removed), whom the diviner advises the family to petition. Because the figures correspond to known ancestors, they are more detailed in representing bodily and facial features.

David Norden

You can visit an exhibition in France related to them:

Les Mobas, exposition de sculptures jusqu’au 3 octobre à la Cour des Boecklin, 17 rue Nationale à Bischheim (France). Mardi, mercredi, vendredi, samedi et dimanche de 14 h 30 à 18 h 30. Entrée libre. Tél : 03 88 81 49 47.

see also in situ pictures from José Ortega 
at : 

and a Moba description at: 

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The Tribal Arts of Africa

The Tribal Arts of Africa
Author: Jean-Baptiste Bacquart

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