A male Jukun sculpture, Nigeria, standing on bockshaped feet, shortened legs, the hands touching the protruding navel, the fascial oval plane with a threeparted goatee framed by large rectangular ears, a similarity with many Mumuye sculptures, stylistic Village de Wurbon Daudu (?), border destrict Cameroon/Nigeria<; remarkable the blackened spots covering the whole sculpture.
A specific handling of Islam with animistic cult objects Recently, I acquired a Jukun and a well known Guerre sculpture sculpture, which seemed to have a peculiar "sacrificial patina“. Superficially, it looked as if it had been sacrificed by blood, which is known to turn almost encrusted blackened with age. On closer inspection, one sees, however, that the "liquid" that is there in apparently coagulated. It seems seems lumpy and different than once-flowing and coagulated blood.
The assumption was obvious that here a blood patina should be imitated to the appearance of a pretend ritual use. This kind of "patinting" is often in my favor encountered. Presumably, all artificially patinated sculptures will not come with actual blood but with a liquid, the encrusted, old blood in a sense similar. That blood is "a very special juice“, we know from the animistic sequence of Goethe´s „Faust“. Also in Africa blood can be a symbol of a „satanic pact“ (black magic), which does not serve the animistic sacrifice (in the sense of „white magic) possibly for one if blood is to serve deception - whether that is true or not if that's the reason why even the most skilled counterfeiters do not use real blood I can not say to feign a sacrificial patina.
Since the lumpy, blackish "spots" on the Jukun figure, however, rather another, me similar to unknown sacrificial fluid that was not necessarily faking blood, I asked an "animistic Muslim“ (a man with the widespread mental mixture of traditional „religion“ of animism and the monotheist Islam), if he could give me an explanation for these "spots". His answer:
"This has neither" sacrificial blood "nor" an artificially created sacrificial patina something to do. It's the kind of animist converted to Islam, former ritual objects decommission. It is that liquid, with the adolescent in the Koran schools write on your wooden boards. Even there, they would learn how to be a ritual object spiritual power by "spiking" the set of writing fluid on the figure.“ Through the writing fluid, at the same time in your use as a typeface as a symbol of superiority. In contrast to animism, which has no comparable form of expression, power is transferred the ritual object that takes away his spiritual power through this act. To this way the former ritual object is taken its animistic power and it is from thereonly one piece of carved wood from which there is no danger.
The "declassification" is so, if you will, an act of "secularization," where the fear of the magic of the sacrificed object does not just disappear from another view, but it still needs a "certain counter-magic", which leads to the magical loss of power.
Similar phenomena I found not only in Jukun sculptures but also in Guerre masks and partly among the Lobi, although the last-named ethnic group has been least influenced by Islam so far. In this context I want to underline the way of the elimination of spiritual, animistic power, which is already taught in the Koran schools.
For a publication I am looking for similar examples in ritual objects of other ethnic groups, because it is linked to the confrontation to the monotheistic islam and the traditional Animismus.
Source: Wolfgang Jaenicke bog-spot 25th January
Rubin,The Arts of the Jukun Speaking Peoples of the Northern Nigeria, 1969, p. 297
600 - 800,- Euro
Height: 46 cm Weight: 1,6 kg photo: tribalartforum.com/ identification no. DSC00069.jpg More pictures
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