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date: 23 September 2019

Abstract and Keywords

Numerous wood, clay, and ivory figurines have been used for various purposes throughout Central Africa for many centuries. Unfortunately, only a few figurines in clay have so far been recovered by archaeologists. In Uganda, a pottery head and a cylindrical figurine, both dated probably to the late first millennium ad were found in two instances near Kampala. In Lower Congo, small stone statues were placed on tombs, while much further upstream, figurines in the shape of cylindrical bottles have been recovered among Kisalian grave goods (ninth to thirteenth centuries). From the same period, caprine and antelope metapodia were used as dolls for young girls and probably as fertility figures for young women. Throughout Africa, similar bones have had the same uses in recent times. Similar metapodia found in an archaeological context from various time periods in the Near East and in Europe may thus also have been perceived as figurines.

Keywords: Congo, figurines, dolls, fertility, metapodia, Uganda, Near East

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