Close Menu

Nomoli Figure

← Back to search
  • Title Nomoli Figure
  • Category Sculpture
  • Medium Soapstone
  • Dimensions 9"h x 6"w x 5.5"d
  • Description Soapstone fetish
  • Notes The Nomoli Figure is a “Fetish”, or a carving believed to hold special powers, often granted by a blessing from a priest or shaman. Nomoli figures are claimed by the peoples in their areas to have been made by gods or a white genie.* The first Nomoli may have been made as an imitation of clay ancestral figures found in Western Sudan. The head of the Nomoli projects forward and dominates the horizontal access matching a common characteristic of these figures. The Nomoli Figure is thought to have been made in the 16th century by the Sherbro people’s ancestors, who come from southern Sierra Leone. The squatting or kneeling pose is typical. The significance of the Nomoli is that the person fortunate to find it has now come into possession of a supernatural means of increasing the rice harvest*. No other function is attributed to the figure. *John H. Atherton, Milan Kalous, “Nomoli.” (The Journal of African History, vol. 11, no.3, 1970), 303-17. *Stanley Brown, “The Nomoli of Mende Country.” (Journal of the International African Institute, vol.18, no. 1, 1948), 18-20.
  • Artist
  • Credit Clyde and Annie Matters Collection
  • Location Library Art Storage H6
  • Accession Number 1994.0027
  • Status Available Request this art work
  • Administration Admin View
    Edit Details