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Lot 0036
This is a large carved stone idol in the form of a a Nomoli ancestor with phallus from The Sapi , or mende peoples of Sierra Leone, West Africa. The stone is well weathered and appears scraped on one side, and there appears to be a receptacle on the top of the figures head. Called nomoli by the Mende, this figure is one among many similar examples that have been found throughout southeastern Sierra Leone and neighboring Guinea. While no longer made, such figures have been found in the ground and are reused in a variety of ritual contexts by peoples in the area such as the Mende, Bullom and Kono. The original purpose of such figures is the subject of ongoing debate, but the attributes of other examples and the customs of local inhabitants have caused scholars to speculate that the figures were commemorative, representing the regenerative force of an identifiable, honored ancestor or a recently deceased prominent person. Some tribes use them as protective magic for their crops.


Well weathered, uneven patina, possible cleaning. Loss to phallus end a long time ago.

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Mysterious Sapi Nomoli Stone Statue, Rare African Art

Estimate $500 - $1,500Nov 18, 2017