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House of Stones: Memorial Art of Fifteenth-Century Sierra Leone

Frederick J. Lamp
The Art Bulletin
Vol. 65, No. 2 (Jun., 1983), pp. 219-237
Published by: College Art Association
DOI: 10.2307/3050319
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/3050319
Page Count: 19
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Abstract

In Sierra Leone, West Africa, hundreds of miniature stone figures have been discovered: What is their origin? The figures have been dated, largely through stylistic analysis, to a period prior to the mid-16th century, a time of major ethnic migrations in which the indigenous "Sapi" peoples were infiltrated by the "Mani" originating from the Mande peoples of the Upper Niger River. This paper attempts to attribute the figures to the Sapi through an iconographic analysis and an investigation of early European literature on the area, and to suggest a continuity of function in the modern ancestral shrines of the Temne people, descended from the Sapi.

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