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Ancient Bura Terracotta Funerary Effigy Head

Bura Asinda-Sikka, modern day southwest Niger and Burkina Faso, ca. 3rd to 13th centuries CE. This is an earthenware pottery head atop a wide cylindrical base, all decorated by a red slip. The head has a conical shape that emphasizes the mouth and nose. Little is known about the Bura Asinda-Sikka people who built this archaeological site, which was discovered and excavated only in the last few decades. It is a necropolis that was filled with anthropomorphic and zoomorphic terracotta figurines, frequently placed above inhumation-style burials; many of these burials had accompanying grave goods such as bronze jewellery, iron weapons, and glass beads (the latter indicating that this culture had trade ties across the Sahara with North Africa). Figures like this one are thought to represent individuals rather than having been mass produced. Size: 3.5" W x 5" H (8.9 cm x 12.7 cm).

Condition: Slight wear but intact, with most slip remaining.

Provenance: Ex Peter Arnovick Collection, Los Altos CA

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