Shrine Figure of the Goddess Mami Wata (Primary Title)

Unknown (Artist)

20th Century
Akan
Wood
Ghana
Overall: 15 1/2 × 10 1/4 × 5 3/4 in. (39.37 × 26.04 × 14.61 cm)
2015.415
Mami Wata is a water spirit venerated throughout many African cultures and across the Black Atlantic--the spread of African culture from the continent to the Western Hemisphere. The image of Mami Wata is believed to derive from a chromolithographic advertisement for a Samoan snake charmer that was produced in Germany and subsequently introduced in Nigeria. This example, which would have been placed upon an altar, depicts Mami Wata sitting on a stool.  
Gift of Kenneth and Bonnie Brown
Image released via Creative Commons CC-BY-NC

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