We consulted with Sierra Leone experts Gary Schultze and Vinni Miller regarding this piece.
"Mende guardian objects were carved to bring health, prosperity, and fertility to the Mende community.
This classic Mende figure is a perfect example of Mende prosperity, the circles around the neck, and Mende fertility, the beautiful carved breasts. Also, the classic stylished elongated torso emphasizes the beauty and fertility of Mende women.
The object has age, probably before Sierrra Leone's 1961 Independence, it may have been carved even earlier. This early work shows signs of wear and early use. The shiny top patina was applied later in its life, however under the top shiny patina the figure retains its orginal dark blotchy brown patina" Vinni Miller.
That said, there are similar figures like this one from peoples along the Sierra Leone/Guinea border like the Limbo and Loko.
Ex.Christopher and Genevieve McConnell Collection.
Age split down right side.
Height: 11 ⅝"
Height including base: 13 ½"
Width: 1 ¼"
Depth: 1 ¼"