230416 - Antique Terracotta Katsina statue - Nigeria


Antique Terracotta Katsina statue - Nigeria.

This superb and highly characteristic statue measures 36 cm in height. 

This Katsina sculpture was collected in my private collection in 1998.

A fragmentary terracotta figure in the Katsina style from Nigeria, preserved here is the torso with bent arms resting on both sides next to a protruding belly button, a broad neck connecting the torso with the relatively large head with a high forehead, notched round eyes with small ears modelled right next to them, small nose and pointed mouth.

Katsina State lies on the trade routes between the ancient city of Kano and the Sahara. It is closely linked to Sokoto, and terracotta objects from these areas without provenance are difficult to attribute to one state. A period of three hundred years, from 200 BC to 100 BC, has been suggested, but this is a guess based on a very sparse sample, with no stratigraphy to rely on. It seems that most of the figurines from Katsina were originally attached to the top of spherical vessels and may have served as grave goods.

Literature: Frederick John Lamp, Ancient Terracotta Figurines from Northern Nigeria. Yale University Art Gallery Bulletin, 2011.