A Senufo maternity figure

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Lot 2521
A superb and monumental Senufo maternity figure
height 40 1/2in

Sold for US$ 54,000 inc. premium
A superb and monumental Senufo maternity figure
Ivory Coast, exceptionally carved, possessing regal balance; the stately attenuated female figure with elaborate coiffure and bold expressive facial features above a stylized body holding a faceless baby to her breast. Fine lustrous dark surface.
height 40 1/2in

Footnotes

  • Provenance:
    Henri Kamer
    Wally and Brenda Zollman

    Exhibited:
    Gallerie Remac, 1958
    Museum of Anthropology, Ball State University, Indiana, 1988
    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:
    Art Negre, Gallerie Remac, Cannes. 1958. Fig. 24

    Celenko, T. African Art in Cultural Context: Selections from the Wally and Brenda Zollman Collection, Ball State University, 1988. Fig.

    Bourgeois and Rodolitz, REMNANTS OF RITUAL: SELECTIONS FROM THE GELBARD COLLECTION OF AFRICAN ART, Ethnos, New York, 2003, p.9, fig.22a & 22b

    This image served as a central icon in the shrine of the men’s sacred grove, during initiations into the Senufo Poro society. Poro among the Senufo, as in the case of the Dan, is concerned with the initiation of boys to manhood, and the teaching of moral rectitude. The almost menacing quality of the mother’s face is in stark contrast to the abstracted featureless child that she holds, for this child is not yet initiated, not yet an intrinsic part of Senufo society. This mother holds the potential child, the uninitiated man who is still without shape due to his lack of Poro knowledge. The contrasting of the complexity of the figures, and the sense of heightened, almost ecstatic awareness on the face of this Great Mother, remind us that we are dealing not with a “mother and her child” but to the Senufo, “The Mother” cradling the potential of a neophyte.
A Senufo maternity figure
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