Spencer Museum of Art The University of Kansas

Welcome to the Spencer Collection

two female figures
  • unknown Onitsha maker
  • two female figures, late 1800s–1975
  • Where object was made: Nigeria
  • wood, pigment, carving
  • Object Height/Width/Depth: 138.5 x 52 x 31 cm
    Object Height/Width/Depth: 54 1/2 x 20 1/2 x 12 3/16 in
  • Gift of Mr. and Mrs. H. Kenneth Palmer
  • Not on display
  • 2007.3168

The two standing figures are both adult females though one is smaller in scale. Both are painted white with a significant amount of black detail. The larger figure stands on a black rectangular base, holding the smaller figure at her left hip.

The larger figure's hairstyle has three ridges, all black with white detail. Her face is white with black detail on the eyebrows, rings around the eyes, scars on the cheeks, the rims of the ears, and the lips with marks at the sides. The teeth are visible. She has a black cross above each breast, and her breasts are black with white lines oriented on the nipple. There is a vertical column of black with a white grid pattern, edged with red. It ends at a very prominent navel, decorated like the breasts. There is a wide black band around the waist with horizontal white lines. The remaining torso is decorated with a variety of triangles. The legs are white with black rings down the front. The lower portion of the legs and feet are solid black. The arms are white with black triangles. The wrists and hands are solid black.

The smaller figure's hairstyle is also black, but has four points. Her face is white with black detail: a "T" across the eyebrows and down the nose, a black ring around the eyes, two vertical scars on each cheek and a black ring around the lips with scars at each end. There is a row of black triangles across the chest above the breasts. The breasts are white with black lines centered on the nipples. There is a black band at the waist with a white zigzag. The prominent navel is decorated like the breasts. The arms and legs are white with black spots, solid black at ends, including the hands and feet.