This  apotropaic  figure represents an important Bongo dignitary and was placed on
top his grave to commemorate his life. The notches on the base symbolize herds of
animals and  milk pots he possessed.

Towards the end of the 19th century, the Bongo people were a powerful tribe. They
numbered 100,000 and occupied a region of southern Sudan, on a large plain to the
west of the White Nile. The Islamic slave  trade dramatically reduced their population
tto 5,000 by the 1920's, although they have slightly grown in number since then.
Bongo elders hold political authority and their economy is mainly based on farming
sorghum and millet.

The reputation of Bongo artists is based  on the post that they carved for the graves
of important men. They are cylindrical in shape and have either  a full figure or head
at the top. These posts are believed to  represent the deceased and act both as
memorials and potent inhibitors of sorcerers' spells. Occasionally, the cynlindrical
base is notched to represent the number of enemies or large animals killed by the