Doll, used in stillbirth ceremony, Gambia, West Africa, 1930-1950

Made:
1930-1950
maker:
Unknown

Copy of doll, made of baked mud with bead eyes and human hair, in blue woven dress, used in stillbirth ceremony, from Gambia, West African, 1930-1950

This doll is made of baked mud with textiles and human hair. It is a replica of one made in a Gambian Village for women who had had stillbirths. The doll is treated as a live child. It is baptised on the eighth day, when a feast is held. In many West African medical traditions, stillbirth is attributed to evil forces or spirits. It requires a range of healing practices, some dating back thousands of years.

The doll was donated by Sister Mary M Larrett to the Wellcome collections. She was employed at the West African Council for Medical Research Laboratories at Bathurst, Gambia, and later at Lagos in Nigeria.

Details

Category:
Ethnography and Folk Medicine
Object Number:
A652416
Materials:
complete, earthenware (baked mud), glass, hair, textile
type:
human remains
taxonomy:
  • human remains
  • visual and verbal communication
  • sculpture
  • statue
  • figurine
credit:
Wellcome Trust
status:
Loan: Wellcome Trust

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