Elaborately carved staff with angular forms along the shaft and topped with a figurine with a rounded head, heart-shaped face and two stylized arms resting on the stomach. A large Z-shaped handle is carved in the middle of the shaft, with a series of cubes and conical forms above and beneath it.
The attribution of artworks to a single ethnic group is difficult in a region as diverse as that surrounding the Ubangi River, bordering the Democratic Republic of the Congo and the Central African Republic. Like many similar regions in Africa, the Ubangi River area has for centuries been characterized by "open borders" that allow for the easy movement of people and objects. The carved figure topping this stick represents the general characteristics of a regional Ubangi style. Among the Ngbaka, as well as neighboring peoples, tall sticks were used to strike the ground during initiation rituals: the noise would warn people that the male initiates were approaching. Female dancers would also brandish carved, notched sticks called "kangala" on the occasion of the initiation of girls.
Hanuman is depicted with a human body and a monkey head. The image is incised on the plate and his body is entirely textured with characters in the devanagari script. Often merely the letter ‘r’ designating the god Rama with whom he is associated. He is in a striding posture and there are a number of sections of text scattered around the image. At his feet is a human figure walking in the opposite direction. He holds a double flag consisting of two triangular shapes facing him in his left hand along with a thin club. One appears to emanating from his mouth? His right hand is lifted with an arrow above it and his tail curves behind him. There is also a small altar depicting the two feet of Rama in the area between his outstretched leg and the end of a scarf wrapped around his body.
The monkey Hanuman, often referred to as a monkey god, figures prominently in the epic, the Ramayana, telling the story of the incarnation of Vishnu and his war against the demon king of Lanka, Ravana. He is the most important of the monkey hosts and served important function in the story. He is often sculpted to fit into a set of sculptures depicting the god Rama, the hero of the Ramayana, and his brother Lakshman and his wife Sita. The groups sometimes signify the coronation of the god Rama, which is the end of the story, but sometimes the grouping is of them all standing. He has a devotional following of his own and is usually depicted as a human with a monkey’s head. In this engraving he takes a completely religious role being made up of devotional phrases.
Three figures with canted tabletop set with teapot, carafe, and dishes. A nude figure stands on the right side of the image, representing the ethnographic statue that the artist admired and kept in his studio. Artist's sketch from life; Kirchner developed a rapid, stroke-oriented (as opposed to detail-oriented) sketch style.
Erna Schilling (center), a dancer as well as Kirchner's mistress in Berlin, as well as an unidentified guest at a central table surface spread with cups, saucers, carafe, coffee pot, and plate. The figure to the right is an Oceanic or African wooden statue that Kirchner kept in his Berlin art studio, and identifies the image's location as such.
A long street receds at the center of the image. In the center is a flagpole surmounted by a winged lion (symbol of St. Mark, and therefore of Venice). In the foreground at lower left is a group of women seated working together making lace. Other than a man and boy at the right of the flagpole, the street is largely empty.
The scene depicted here is a street near Santa Marta. Whistler offers selective focus to the scene, more completely drawing the buildings on the right side of the composition and providing closely observed details of the figures at the lower left corner.