Sculpted images of African men and women were rarely shown in public galleries before the 19th century, but Charles Cordier's plaster bust of "Saïd Abdullah of the Mayac, Kingdom of the Darfur (Sudan)" had a tremendous reception, when it was displayed at the 1848 Paris Salon. Finished in two weeks, the bust reflects the mid-19th century European fascination with non-Western physiognomy, costumes and customs, later characterized as Orentalism. In 1851 Cordier made a pendant bust of a female entitled "African Venus" and bronze casts of both busts were commissioned, indicating the growing crossover of cultures as Africa became more accessible with improved methods of transportation and trade.
Charles Henri Joseph Cordier

Bust of an African Woman, Charles Henri Joseph Cordier

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