Effigies : Overview

This group of objects can be classified as effigies, or three dimensional representations of the human form. The four objects originate from very different locales: Oceania, Europe, Africa, and Central America.  Although the objects vary in their purposes—some were made for ceremonial use, some for practical use, some for constant contact and some for viewing—there is a continuity of meaning among them as reflections of power and status in each of the cultures. Whether the figure in question is a mortal or a god or a spirit, it is nevertheless depicted with elements of a human form. This central theme suggests that the representation of human form is a figure or vessel of power in itself.