Memorial Head (Ntiri)

17th century (?)
Ghana, Adanse traditional area, Fomena (?)
Akan peoples
H. 12 x W. 7 3/8 x D. 7 in. (30.5 x 18.8 x 17.8 cm)
Credit Line:
The Michael C. Rockefeller Memorial Collection, Gift of Nelson A. Rockefeller, 1964
Accession Number:
On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 352
The Asante, Baule, and Anyi peoples belong to the Akan culture and language group. Since the second half of the sixteenth century, two traditions of terracotta sculpture produced by Akan women have played a role in funerary rites and memorialized the dead. While relief-decorated vessels are associated with the shrines of ordinary people, freestanding figures and heads were predominantly the prerogative of royalty. Enormous stylistic diversity is reflected in forms that range from seven to ten centimeters wide to lifesize and from hollow and sculpturally rounded to solid, flat, and circular.
Luther, until 1959; Nelson A. Rockefeller, New York, on loan to The Museum of Primitive Art, New York, 1959–1964; The Museum of Primitive Art, New York, 1964–1978

The Metropolitan Museum of Art. Art of Oceania, Africa, and the Americas from the Museum of Primitive Art. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1969, no. 341.

The American Federation of Arts. Primitive Art Masterworks: an exhibition jointly organized by the Museum of Primitive Art and the American Federation of Arts, New York. New York: The American Federation of Arts, 1974, no. 69.

Newton, Douglas. Masterpieces of Primitive Art: The Nelson A. Rockefeller Collection. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1978, p. 63.

LaGamma, Alisa. Heroic Africans: Legendary Leaders, Iconic Sculptures. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 2011, pp. 83, 88.