Traditional African wood carving reflects the culture of an authentic and original philosophy. It gives specific visual form to a highly organized system of thought with its own logic and harmony. It is a philosophy which views the nature of beings and of the world in general as a process, as the manifestation of the powers of moving and shifting energies.
Figures of ancestors have an exceptional importance in the religion of farming peoples of West Africa and in their classical wood carving.
The figures of ancestor worship receive daily gifts and are offered sacrifices in food and drink. They have a distinguished artistry - they are monumental and intensely vital even when small in size. The rigidity and balance of their attitude, the peace and stability they express, are independent of the media or the blade of the chisel or knife. Their unity of line, surface and volume sums up the vitality of a family, family group, tribe.
Some figures are used in magic, many for the ceremonial and ritual of different cults and worship. They can be magical figures, divinities, fetishes, etc. In general, they are ritual figures.