Wooden statue of a woman breast-feeding a child, North America

Made:
1850-1950 in North America
maker:
Unknown

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Science Museum Group Collection
© The Board of Trustees of the Science Museum

Science Museum Group Collection
© The Board of Trustees of the Science Museum

Wooden statue of a female breast-feeding a child, mothers head shows anterio-posterior flattening, North American, north-west coast

This carved wooden statue shows a squatting North American Indian woman breast-feeding her child. Her distinct head shape is due to the practice of head flattening. It is also called ‘anterior posterior flattening’. This is the deliberate deforming of the head to increase skull height. Artificially changing the shape of the skull was practiced by several North, Central and South American Indian tribes. It was a process begun in infancy and achieved by either binding the head or strapping the child to a cradleboard. The skull became elongated over time by the gentle and consistent pressure.

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Details

Category:
Ethnography and Folk Medicine
Object Number:
A158673
type:
statue
taxonomy:
  • visual and verbal communication
  • sculpture
credit:
Glendining

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