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Gravepost (Aloalo)

Arts of Africa

Aloalo are commemorative grave markers used by royal Mahafaly clans. These posts symbolize a union between dead and living family members. Here a man holds a horn filled with medicine in one hand and extends the other to anoint a kneeling woman in a healing ceremony.
CULTURE Mahafaly
MEDIUM Wood, paint
  • Place Made: Ambovombe, Madagascar
  • DATES 20th century
    DIMENSIONS 53 1/2 x 9 3/4 x 5 1/2 in. (135.9 x 24.8 x 14 cm)  (show scale)
    COLLECTIONS Arts of Africa
    CREDIT LINE Carll H. de Silver Fund, Ella C. Woodward Memorial Fund, and Robert A. Levinson Fund
    CATALOGUE DESCRIPTION Wood commerative post called aloala made of 3 pairs of crescents back to back alternating with 3 pairs of diamonds back to back. Post surmounted by platform on which are 2 kneeling figures. The larger figure (male) wears a hat and a short tunic and holds a horn in his left hand while his right hand is extended to touch the forehead of the woman kneeling in front of him (as if to annoint her). Separate two-tiered base.
    MUSEUM LOCATION This item is not on view
    CAPTION Mahafaly. Gravepost (Aloalo), 20th century. Wood, paint, 53 1/2 x 9 3/4 x 5 1/2 in. (135.9 x 24.8 x 14 cm). Brooklyn Museum, Carll H. de Silver Fund, Ella C. Woodward Memorial Fund, and Robert A. Levinson Fund, 69.10. Creative Commons-BY (Photo: Brooklyn Museum, 69.10_PS1.jpg)
    IMAGE overall, 69.10_PS1.jpg. Brooklyn Museum photograph, 2007
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    RIGHTS STATEMENT Creative Commons-BY
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