Tag Archives: Angas

Angas figures from Nigeria out of the shadows

Angas figures. Height: 53,3 & 55,9 cm. Image courtesy of the Fine Arts Museum of San Francisco, The de Young Museum, San Francisco, CA., USA (#1996.12.34.1 & 2).

Angas figures. Height: 53,3 & 55,9 cm. Image courtesy of the Fine Arts Museum of San Francisco, The de Young Museum, San Francisco, CA., USA (#1996.12.34.1 & 2).

An error often made in the trade concerns the attribution of the above type of figures. They are often mistakenly listed as Montol, or even Chamba. In fact, they originate from the Angas (Ngas), the largest ethnic group on the Jos Plateau and neigbours of the Montol. They are situated in the Eastern escarpment of the Jos-Highland Plateau. It’s an easily recognizable style, clearly distinguishable from the more chunky Montol iconography. It was Barry Hecht, a renowned collector of Nigerian art, who informed me about this general misconception. Martial Bronsin confirmed this attribution to a private collector from Brussels. Most likely these figures were used in a context similar to the Komtin cult from the Montol. In Central Nigeria Unmasked, a book discussing Middle Benue sculpture, not a single reference to the Angas can be found. For now, I haven’t been able to find any relevant literature. Any further information about this type of sculpture is thus very welcome.

Angas figure. Height: 46 cm. Image courtesy of a private collector in Brussels.

Angas figure. Height: 46 cm. Image courtesy of a private collector in Brussels.

Angas figure, with child on back. Height: 55 cm. Image courtesy of Sotheby's (Sotheby's, Paris, 5 December 2006. Lot 191).

Angas figure, with child on back. Height: 55 cm. Image courtesy of Sotheby’s (Sotheby’s, Paris, 5 December 2006. Lot 191).