A very rare female Senufo guardian sculpture, Ivory Coast, standing on a short cylindrical base, sturdy legs, wide hips and powerful gluteae, scarification marks along the backbone, the navel surrounded by radially arranged scarification marks, more on the protruding breasts, rips, wrists, eyebrows and at the corners of the mouth, rounded shoulders, bent arms with one ring around each upper arm and one around each wrist, hands angled and opened in a gesture that looks inviting or demonstrating, on the gently curved, long neck rests an elongated head with an iroquois-like hair cut, semicircular ears, the lips are presented as a square showing the gritted teeth, the nose is long and flat, wide at the tip, the eyes are almond-shaped with no pupil; mahogany-colored wood, aged patina.
Burkhard Gottschalk writes that this is not a rhythm pounder (Débéle, do:ogèlè), but a very rare stationary used guardian figure. These sculptures are called propi:ibèlè, „children of the Poro”.
“Their membership of the Poro would be an explanation for our little knowledge of their significance, because this organisation, which largely determines the village world of the Senufo, is a secret society. … Even rarer are the statues [propi:ibèlè] … of which it is only said that they belong to the Poro, because there is no reliable information about their use.“ Burkhard Gottschalk, Kunst aus Schwarzafrika. SENUFO. Unbekannte Schätze aus privaten Sammlungen, 2009, p.174, 179.
Lit.: Burkhard Gottschalk, Senufo. Massa und die Statuen des Poro, 2002; Staatliche Museen der Preußischer Kulturbesitz, Museum für Völkerkunde Berlin, Die Kunst der Senufo, Elfenbeinküste. Mit einem Beitrag von Till Förster, 1990; Museum Rietberg Zürich, Die Kunst der Senufo aus Schweizer Sammlungen, 1988; Susan Elizabeth Gagliardi, Senufo unbound. Dynamics of art and identity in West Africa, Cleveland 2015.
500 – 600 Euro
Height: 44 cm
Weight: 0,8 kg