nok wooden statuette
size: 10" (25.4 cm)
provenace: private USA estate collection
This rare Nok statuette in wood bears testimony to the fact that unlike European painting or sculpture, style does not greatly change over the years in African tribal art. This clearly weathered, wooden sculpture bears all the trademark characteristics found in earlier dated terracotta sculptures, for example, the complete disregard for precise anatomy.
The figure combines other strong formal elements associated with Nok terracottas. The longest surviving tradition of African sculpture is figures in terracotta. Nok statuettes are mainly of human subjects. The terracotta predecessors are unmistakably the start of the African sculptural tradition that evolved into later wood sculptures such as this unusual specimen.