Head fragment (shembera)
Gaäanda peoples, Gabun district
Early to mid-20th century
Fowler Museum at UCLA. Gift of Arnold Rubin. X86.4687
Collected by Arnold Rubin, 1970
These small but expressive head fragments are from a shrine located in a rocky citadel called Kanpelam in the Ga’anda Hills, to the east of the Gongola River. They once surmounted vessels that served as repositories of ancestral spirits. The fragments along with fully intact vessels were the focus of annual offerings made to appease the ancestors.
Source: Gallery Wall Text, Central Nigeria Unmasked: Arts of the Benue River Valley, 2011