User Menu

MFA for Educators

Engage your students with the collections of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, to illustrate themes and concepts in any discipline.

Male ancestor figure

Start collecting

Forceful images such as this one were created by Mambila artists as foci for protective spirits in the healing rituals of the Suaga association. The human type, known as tadep, usually has a large face and often displays the hand-to-mouth gesture implying deference. These characteristics were...

Show Full Description


Bryce P. Holcombe (d. 1983), New York [see note]; to Pace Primitive and Ancient Art, New York (stock no. 51-7848); October 3, 1985, sold by Pace Primitive and Ancient Art to William and Bertha Teel, Marblehead, MA; 1991, year-end gift of William and Bertha Teel to the MFA. (Accession Date: January 22, 1992) NOTE: Director of Pace Primitive and Ancient Art until his death in 1983.

Credit Line

Gift of William E. and Bertha L. Teel

African, Mambila peoples, Cameroon, 19th–20th century

Object Place



66.04 cm (26 in.)

Accession Number


Medium or Technique



Africa and Oceania