A Mossi figural post

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Lot 2511
A superb Mossi figural post
height 51 1/2in

Sold for US$ 51,000 inc. premium
A superb Mossi figural post
Burkina Faso, of spectacular form, the attenuated figure stately and dynamic. Lovely weathered surface.
height 51 1/2in

Footnotes

  • Provenance:
    Roland de Montegue
    Michael Oliver

    Exhibited:
    Governors State University, IL, 2003
    Krannert Art Museum, IL, 2003
    Belger Art Foundation/University of Missouri-Kansas City, MO, 2004
    Tall Grass Art Association, IL, 2005

    Published:
    Bourgeois and Rodolitz, REMNANTS OF RITUAL: SELECTIONS FROM THE GELBARD COLLECTION OF AFRICAN ART, Ethnos, New York, 2003, p.5, fig.12a & 12b

    Mossi figures were used by a political substrata of leadership associated with original farming groups rather than more recent overlords. They are displayed at year-end sacrificial rites amid dancing and feasting where they pertain to ancestors although their purpose is markedly secular in their affirmation of a leader's right to rule. Chris Roy wrote that this piece: “shows all of the usual and desirable patterns of use and weathering over a considerable period of time in Africa and appears to have been carved by an exceptionally talented artist working on commission for a traditional Mossi chief, probably in the area south of Ouagadougou, especially in the region of Sapone. Mossi posts of this type are usually made in pairs, male and female, to be erected at each side of the entrance to a chief’s compound residence…This pattern of use results in the differentiation of wear that are evident on the object… the lower part of the post is more heavily weathered than the upper portion because the base was splashed with rainwater, while the head and shoulders were protected by the overhang of the roof…The post shows both male and female characteristics – it has both a beard and a woman’s crest, both breasts and penis. This is very much in accord with other Mossi chief’s figures that illustrate the sexually ambiguous character of the idea chief, who represents both the male and female elements of his community in one. …This object was carved by an African carver for a traditional context, commissioned by a Mossi chief and used in a town or village. It is an unusually dramatic and expressive carving that nonetheless fits in with the corpus of known sculpture by the Mossi. (Chris Roy, 2/15/90.).
A Mossi figural post
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