Greystones Fine Interiors
Greystones Fine Interiors is located in Peterborough, United Kingdom
Rare & Old Two Faced Mumuye Sukuru Shoulder Mask
The shoulder mask on offer is a very rare piece especially with its twin headed (hermaphrodite - female and male) carving. It is though to date to the early 20th century. This work represents a substantial carving at 125cm in height and approximately 42cm in width and depth. We acquired this piece from a family in Morocco, the father acquired it from a dealer there in the 1970. As is usual, climatic conditions over time have lead to some degradation of the carving which has also clearly taken some knocks during its lifetime so far. All of this said, this is an extraordinarily rare and captivating votive, it is magnificent and powerful. Very beautiful indeed. We believe the work to be over 70 years old, and most like carved in the first half of the 20th Century. Ritual sculptures associated with the Mumuye peoples served in activities intended to gain protection from drought and epidemic diseases as well as to promote successful harvests. They were known to aid the Mumuye “Master of Rain,” whose power extended to neighbouring groups. Sometimes the figures were also used as oracles or to reinforce the status of important elders. A flood of Mumuye sculptures reached the art market in the late 1960s and early 1970s, and since then they have been much celebrated for their abstraction, inventiveness, and striking variety. Part of their attraction is that they are highly recognisable and at the same time very different one from the other. Female figures are often indicated by large perforated earlobes and male figures by their helmets with high crests and/or flaps. Based on their numbers in collections, Mumuye artists must have been numerous and prolific. For the African art collecting community, the discovery of the Mumuye sculptures in the late 1960s was a veritable earthquake. Mumuye artworks were something radical in their reduction, a form that had never been seen. The physicality of the sculptures, their movement, their gracefulness and their formal language were something new and at the same time similar to modern art. The release from the erect sculptural form through movement and the almost dance-like tension as well as the elongated shape fascinated the artistic soul of the collectors, who felt the perfect connection to modern art in the works of the Mumuye. As one of the first, the artist Henry Moore recognized this as early as 1922/1924, when he saw one of the few examples exhibited in the British Museum (INV.NO. 1922.6-10.2). He sketched the dynamics, their physical movement and the associated abstraction, and thus came to a new discourse in his own artistic work. It is also interesting from an art historical point of view that the sculptures created by Alberto Giacometti after 1935 show closeness to sculptures of the Mumuye (Rubin, 1984: 541, fig. 782). Thus, until today, the art of Mumuye can continue to inspire various generations. Many artists subconsciously took on and adopted the language of form in their work, thereby developing a formal idiom that led to a social reassessment of sculpture.
Greystones Fine Interiors has clarified that the Rare & Old Two Faced Mumuye Sukuru Shoulder Mask (LA334224) is genuinely of the period declared with the date/period of manufacture being 1950
Good to fair condition. Wood shows erosion in places and the figure has some signs of damage (pieces lost). This is however not unexpected for pieces of this age and nature. It is solid and stable now however.
Can be shipped within the UK, Europe and to the rest of the world. Crating, packing and transport will be charged at cost only.
This Rare & Old Two Faced Mumuye Sukuru Shoulder Mask is located in Peterborough, United Kingdom