A Senufo Rhythm Pounder-Couple, deble, the statues rising from a thick base with slightly bent legs, the openwork arms carved beside a slender body with pointed navel, protruding conical breasts, the elongated neck supporting a head with pointed chin, a domed coiffure, framed by semi-circular ears; dark-brown to blackened patina, at the arms and at the neck significant traces of use, heavy hard wood. Probably around 1920.
Wolfgang Jaenicke, Private Collection
This type of sculptures – kown under the name deble -is one of the most famous works of West African Art. After the early 20ht century, when the Massa-movement destroyed most of the important Senufo objects, only a few old, authentic Rhythm Pounder were saved and came to Western world. There are no sculptures from the time before 1900 existing anymore in the Senufo region of Ivory Coast, Burkina and Mali. But in some rural regions the old animistic tradition is still existing and also the funeral ceremonies, in which the deble rhythm pounder has it´s ritual function. There are differences in the ceremonies in comparison to the years before 1900. In particular the holy groves, doesn´t exist anymore or arn´t known by Western ethnologists. It were secret fields, where the Senufo placed their ritual sculptures in the forest.These precious objects would probably be stolen immediately, because in nearly every village the Islamic influence becomes stronger and there are more people, who are against the old animistic tradion than decades before. Now these objects are protected in huts close to the village. The patina is different than the extremly old sculptures of the end of 19th century, because they aren´t exposed the weather anymore, even the traces of use are the same. According of the last owner this sculpture comes from the Northern part of the Senufo region, around Korhogo. To carve a sculpture like this requires a skilled craftman with a high degree of the old traditional knowledge. The statics is perfect, but not in reality, no considerable age-crack, extremly hard wood, an incredibile technical skill must be the base for the purpose of this statue: to pound this fragile but heavy sculpture rhythmically on the ground. Probably around 1930.
Homberger, Lorenz (Katalog) Die Kunst der Senufo aus Schweizer Sammlungen. Texte: Till Förster, Objektfotos: Wettsein+Kauf Zürich, Museum Rietberg, 1988, Koloss, Hans-Joachim; Förster, Till, Die Kunst der Senufo, Elfenbeinküste, 1979. Museum für Völkerkunde, Berlin, Burkhard Gottschalk Senoufo. Massa et les Statues du Poro, Düsseldorf: Verlag U. Gottschalk, 2002.
7.000 – 8.000,-Euro
Height: 109 cm / 105 cm
Weight: 6,8 kg / 6,3 kg