Senufo Maternity Figure 13″ | Ivory Coast | African Art
1 in stock
|Type of Object||
|Country of Origin||
Ivory Coast (Côte d’Ivoire)
Possible minor imperfections and wear & tear, including but not limited to scuffing, cracking and minimal chipping. Possible previous repairs. See photos or inquire for more details.
About the Senufo People
“Scattered across the Ivory Coast, Mali and Burkina Faso, the million and a half Senufo tribespeople live principally off the fruits of agriculture and occasionally hunting. They inhabit villages governed by a council of elders, who in turn are led be a chief elected from their number. Tribal cohesion is reinforced through the rituals of the Poro society who initiate and educate the men from the age of seven onwards. Senufo theology is based on Koulotiolo, a powerful god, and Katieleo, a goddess mother, who through the rituals of the Poro society, regenerates the world.
The Senufo were among the first tribal artists to be admired by the Western world. Their artistic output has been prolific – statues and masks characterized by realistic features or highly geometric shapes which emphasize rhythm and the opposition between void and full spaces.”
About Senufo Figures
“Senufo figures vary a great deal but nevertheless can be identified by their heart-shaped faces, arrow-shaped noses and crescent coiffures. Their height varies from 15 to 120 cm. Smaller statues representing divination figures or nature spirits have also been made. They are given offerings, which are sometimes made through a cup at the top of their head, thus giving the entire figure a rich black oily patina. When carved in pairs, they symbolize the primordial couple – an ideal Senufo nuclear family who respects its ancestors. Large bird figures can also be seen during Poro ceremonies. They stand on the ground or are carried on the heads of new male initiates. During ceremonies related to the upper grade of the Poro society, dancers incorporate stylized horse figures.”
About the Maternity Figure
Maternity figures are used to honor the maternal role of women in the festivals of the tyekpa society and ceremonies. The tyekpa society’s role in Senufo culture is primarily revolved around commemorations of the dead. This is where maternity figures are used to pay homage and to honor the memory of an elder ‘tyekpa’ mother by dancing with figurative sculptures.