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Into Ancestorhood: Death as Continuity in Traditional West African Art

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Primordial Couple:

The concept of a pair of original ancestors (male and female) often referred to as the "Primordial Couple" is found in many traditional West African cultures.  They represent a general idea of fertility and the eternal cycle of life.  They are historical in that they present a creation myth and ideological since they represent a specific cosmology.  Sculptures representing this theme are regularly placed in positions of honor at numerous events, including rites of passage and funerals.  Their incorporation into the events and arts surrounding funerals places emphasis on the idea of continuity-the link between origin and death.  The image was also prevalent in musical instruments associated with funeral activities. [3]

Dogon Peoples, Primordial Couple, 20th Century, Wood, Iron, [3]
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