THE GREAT EARTH MOTHER
’It’s not a bird with a fish tail. This is the Great Earth mother. The head of a cow is part of her body.
I travelled to many parts of Africa, before white people put control posts on the borders.
I underwent initiation in many tribes of Africa. I found that Africa is united by a great and very ancient culture, which is the same, no matter where you go. I found that although our people were divided into tribes, there is a basic underlying and unifying culture’.
‘This is the Great Earth Mother here represented as the full moon.
Her limbs are painted different colors. One limb is painted red, one white. This was created to unite two clans, the red ochre clan and plain clan. It was used by both clans.
Human culture is the greatest force for unity on Earth.’Royal Academy of Art Catalogue Description
GREAT EARTH MOTHER AND THREE CHILDREN
‘This is the first woman and the first two men, one of whom is a bad brother.
She has the ridge of the fish on her headdress which, throughout Africa, symbolizes the Great Earth Mother. The Great Earth Mother brings to the first woman, two calabashes; one with healing medicine and one with beer.
Blue is the colour of good health. When white people came they brought Reckitt’s blue for washing clothes.
Our people saw a magical significance in this. They used it for prayer and magical things.
In Africa a figure was a vehicle for passing on a story. You were not allowed to be initiated, until you knew the sacred stories that went with these things’.Royal Academy of Art Catalogue Description
EARTH MOTHER AS SERVANT
‘Here we see the Great Earth Mother as the merciful queen and servant of her people. She brings the water of life, which is her own milk, to the world.
How do we know that this is the Great Earth Mother? Her breasts are exaggerated forward. On her head is the insignia of the Thunder god. The double-headed axe is the weapon of truth. Throughout Africa, the double-headed axe is the symbol of woman.
The axe is a woman’s weapon. The axe was invented by a woman. The spear was invented by a man. There is a god called Sango, who is armed with the double-headed axe. He carries this axe because he stole it from the Mother Mau. You were not allowed to be initiated until you knew all the sacred stories.’Royal Academy of Art Catalogue Description
‘You are told in the book that this is the Earth Mother giving birth to herself.
No! She is the Moon Goddess.’
GREAT EARTH MOTHER WITH HORNS
A woman carrying two horns; she is the Great Earth Mother. The horn is her oldest symbol. From pre-historic places, from caves of Europe, right into the plains of Africa, the Great Earth Mother is always associated with horns.’
MAU THE GREAT EARTH MOTHER
‘This is Mau, the Great Earth Mother.
She is devouring the top part of a date palm, in other words, she’s devouring the Tree of Life.
This is Mau. She is sometimes shown with animals emerging from her nostrils as she breathes life in and she breathes life out. You see the universality of the great mother religion.’Royal Academy of Art Catalogue Description
‘This is not a mythological sculpture at all. This is Queen Nzinga of the Congo people. This has her features and headdress with the horns of motherhood.’
BENIN FEMALE FIGURE
‘Among the Benin people, portrayals of women are very rare.
We see the bow and arrow and star symbols of the very important constellation, Sagittarius, our Love God throughout Africa.
You only look for a wife when Sagittarius is in the ascendant.’
‘These are portrayals of an old woman weeping unendingly for the human race. She represents the Weeping Goddess. Among the Mayas and Aztecs we also find a god portrayed whose eyes stream with tears.’