Mijikenda / Pair of Vigango / Late 19th century - early 20th centuryMijikenda
Pair of Vigango
Late 19th century - early 20th century

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Creator Name: Mijikenda
Creator Nationality: African; East African; Kenyan; Mijikenda
Creator Role: Artist
Creator Name-CRT: Mijikenda
Title: Pair of Vigango
View: front
Creation Start Date: 1866
Creation End Date: 1933
Creation Date: Late 19th century - early 20th century
Object Type: Sculpture
Materials and Techniques: Wood, pigment
Dimensions: H.70-1/2 x W.4-1/4 x D.1-7/8 in.
AMICA Contributor: The Minneapolis Institute of Arts
Owner Location: Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA
ID Number: 97.75.1
Credit Line: The William Hood Dunwoody Fund
Rights: http://www.artsmia.org/restrictions.html

These two memorial figures honor deceased relatives, male members of the Gohu Society. When a problem arose within the family or village, the spirit of a deceased relative who was a Gohu Society member would appear to a living relative in a dream. The spirit would mediate and remedy the problem by giving guidance to the dreamer. Two relatives would only appear when problems were severe.

Elaborate social and religious rituals were conducted when a memorial was carved. Ceremonies accompanied the selection of the tree and the carving and the dedication process which included prayers and fasting. The figures were then erected together near the village, where the spirit of the ancestor could be cared for.

The chip-carved triangular designs refer to scarification patterns that identify initiated members of the Gohu Society. The heart and umbilicus are symbolized by the rosette patterns, and designs representing a tribal hairstyle are carved on the back of the heads of these memorial figures.

AMICA ID: MIA_.97.75.1
Component Measured: overall
Measurement Unit: in
AMICA Library Year: 1998
Media Metadata Rights: ?The Minneapolis Institute of Arts

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