This artifact is of a young adolescent female standing and was made primarily to be used by their secret societies. Large fetish figures are known to be protectors of the entire villages, while smaller ones are used to protect individuals and families from death and disease.
Culture and Traditions
Songhai-Zarma people included the kings and warriors, the scribes, the artisans, the weavers, the hunters, the fishermen, the leather workers and hairdressers (Wanzam), and the domestic slaves (Horso, Bannye). Each caste reveres its own guardian spirit. The Kingdom of Songhai, or Songhay, developed from a community of fishermen who lived along the Niger River and were skilled canoeists. During the 9th century they became part of the state of Songhai and began trading with Muslim traders in Gao, which than became part of the kingdom.
Mr. Mrs. Steve Primoff donated in the year 2003.
Date of Digitization
J. B . Coleman Library
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Prairie View A&M University, "SONGHAY Culture of Arts from eastern Mali, western Niger, and northern Benin - (Kneeling Female Figure)" (2022). African Sculptures and Masks. 15.