Exhibitions/ Art Object

Memorial Figure of a Hornblower (Mma)

18th–early 20th century
Côte d'Ivoire, Sanwi traditional area, Krinjabo
Akan peoples, Anyi group
H. 10 3/8 x W. 4 1/4 x D. 7 1/2 in. (26.4 x 10.8 x 19.1 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
This clay figure of a court musician was created to accompany a funerary portrait of an Akan ruler from what is presently southern Ghana or southeastern Côte d'Ivoire. When a ruler died, a memorial sculpture was created in his likeness and brought to the cemetery in which he was buried. It was left there with images created for previous generations of rulers, forming a display that was the focus of annual rites celebrating the memory of the royal ancestors. Sculptures of servants and courtiers such as this one were also left near the burial site, where they served to comfort and support the deceased in the afterlife.

The unusual brimmed hat may indicate the courtly status of this royal servant. His striated neck suggests health and well-being, while the raised marks on his cheeks, temples, and forehead are skin embellishments that denote ethnic affiliation. His two arms raise a cylindrical flute to his lips. The work's somewhat abstracted form is quite expressive, as the backward tilt of the head and slitted eyes suggest a deep absorption in this creative act.

"Heroic Africans: Legendary Leaders, Iconic Sculptures." The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, 9/20/2011–1/29/2012; Rietberg Museum, Zurich, 2/26–6/3/2012; catalogue no. 99, p. 111.
[Dr. Marcel Lheureux, Paris, acquired 1920s]; P. Alsace; [John J. Klejman, New York, until 1960]; Nelson A. Rockefeller, New York, on loan to The Museum of Primitive Art, New York, 1960–1964; The Museum of Primitive Art, New York, 1964–1978

Holas, Bohumil. "Sur l'utilisation rituelle des statuettes funeraires au Royaume de Krinjabo." Acta Tropica vol. 8, no.1 (1951), pp. 1–17.

Amon d'Aby, F.J. Croyances Religieuses et Coutumes Juridiques des Agni de la Côte d'Ivoire. Paris: Larose, Éditeurs, 1960.

Museum of Primitive Art. Traditional Art of the African Nations in the Museum of Primitive Art. New York: University Publishers, Inc., 1961, no. 45.

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. 339.

de Grunne, Bernard. Terres cuites anciennes de l'Ouest africain = Ancient Terracottas from West Africa. Louvain-la-Neuve: Institut supérieur d'archéologie et d'histoire de l'art, Collège Érasme, 1980.

Roy, Christopher D. Art and life in Africa: selections from the Stanley Collection. Iowa City: University of Iowa Museum of Art, 1985, pp. 58-59.

Soppelsa, Robert T. "'Assongu': A Terracotta Tradition of Southeastern Ivory Coast." Africa: Journal of the International African Institute vol. 1, no. 57 (1987).

Soppelsa, Robert T. "A Mma in the Metropolitan Museum of Art." African Arts vol. 23, no. 3 (July 1990), 77-78, 104.

Vivian, Brian C. "Sacred to Secular: Transitions in Akan Funerary Customs." In An African Commitment: Papers in honour of Peter Lewis Shinnie, edited by Judy Sterner, and Nicholas David. Calgary: University of Calgary Press, 1992, 157-167.

Grootaers, Jan-Lodewijk, and Ineke Eisenburger. Forms of wonderment: the history and collections of the Afrika Museum. Vol. 2 vols.. Berg en dal: Afrika Museum, 2002.

Germain, Jacques. "The memorial funerary art of the Anyi." Art tribal vol. 6 (2004), pp. 80-89.

Lehuard, Raoul. "Anyi Chez Jacques Germain." Arts d'Afrique noire, arts premiers vol. 131 (Autumn 2004), Pg. 18-20.

Kreamer, Christine Mullen, Bryna Freyer, Andrea Nicolls, and Martin A. Sklar. African Vision: The Walt Disney-Tishman African Art Collection. Washington, DC and New York: Prestel, 2007.

LaGamma, Alisa. Heroic Africans: Legendary Leaders, Iconic Sculptures. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 2011, no. 99, pp. 109, 111.

Related Objects

Male Poro Figure (Pombia)

Artist: Date: 19th–mid-20th century
Accession Number: 1978.412.315
Date: 19th–mid-20th century Medium: Wood Accession: 1978.412.315 On view in:Gallery 350

Memorial Figure of a Hornblower (Mma)

Artist: Date: 18th–early 20th century
Accession Number: 1978.412.394
Date: 18th–early 20th century Medium: Terracotta Accession: 1978.412.394 On view in:Gallery 352

Seated Figure

Artist: Date: 13th century
Accession Number: 1981.218
Date: 13th century Medium: Terracotta Accession: 1981.218 On view in:Gallery 350

Rider Figure on Quadruped

Artist: Date: 16th–19th century
Accession Number: 1978.412.487
Date: 16th–19th century Medium: Wood (Canarium, Burseracea wood), encrustation Accession: 1978.412.487 On view in:Gallery 350

Male Diviner's Figure

Artist: Date: 19th–mid-20th century
Accession Number: 1978.412.390
Date: 19th–mid-20th century Medium: Wood, pigment, beads, iron Accession: 1978.412.390 On view in:Gallery 352