Bassa (Basa), Liberia
Ancestral female statue. The Bassa numbering just under 300,000 live in the middle of present-day Liberia. They practice shifting cultivation, with rice as the dominant crop in the interior and cassava more prominent near the coast. They are patrilineal and patrilocal, living in small settlements seldom numbering more than two hundred inhabitants. The Bassa have both mens and womens societies and practice both circumcision and clitoridectomy. Bassa artistic tradition has been strongly influenced by their northeastern neighbors, the Dan and has many similarities with the classical northern Dan style of idealized naturalism. The statues of this kind with typically enlarged head represent the female ancestors and played some role in the ancestor cult.
Size: H. 29½, W. 10½ D. 9