The relequary figures hold the precious relics of important clan ancestors. The carved head or figure mounted on top of the reliquary box guards the sacred contents against the forbidden gaze of women and uninitiated boys.
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. Scotty L. Greenwald donated in the year 2003.
Date of Digitization
J. B . Coleman Library
© 2021 Prairie View A & M University
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License.
"SONGHAY Culture of Arts from eastern Mali, western Niger, and northern Benin - (Kneeling Female Figure)" (2022). African Sculptures and Masks. 58.