Out of Africa

October 1, 2005

 

Agni funerary heads, terracotta, 7, 7.5, and 8 inches tall.  Gift of Ralph and Virginia Neely.

Agni funerary heads, terracotta, 7, 7.5, and 8 inches tall. 
Gift of Ralph and Virginia Neely.

Funerary heads were created by the Agni, members of the Ivory Coast's Akan civilization, in memory of a family member. The special attention a sculptor devoted to capturing specific attributes of the dead person is most evident in the figures' hairstyles or scarifications, which could be exactingly realistic or stylized. Heads that were created for people of distinction or power would be paraded around public meeting places.