00:00
/
00:00
Unknown Maker
Memorial Head (Mma) Memorial Head (Mma)
19th-early 20th century 19th-early 20th century

The Anyi are one of the Akan-speaking peoples of western Africa. Sculpted by women, mma memorial heads represent deceased Anyi royals. They were ¿planted¿ in a mmaso, or ¿village of mma,¿ which was located close to the main access road of each village. There, they were arranged in tableaux according to their earthly social and political positions, and solicited for help with issues related to protection and reproduction. Most Anyi memorial heads probably once had bodies attached, but as they were commonly made of terracotta, their fragility has led to the loss of these parts. Although regarded as portraits, mma emphasized the status of the person in life, through distinctive features such as headdress and coiffure, size in relation to other figures, posture and paraphernalia.

 
Unknown Maker
Anyi peoples Anyi peoples
Memorial Head (Mma) Memorial Head (Mma)
19th-early 20th century 19th-early 20th century
terracotta terracotta
height / width / depth: 25.30 x 13.00 x 14.50 cm; 9.96 x 5.12 x 5.71 in.
Gift of Justin and Elisabeth Lang, 1984 Gift of Justin and Elisabeth Lang, 1984
M84-210

Subscribe to our “This Week at Agnes” e-newsletter to stay abreast of events, news and opportunities at the art museum.