Exquisite Bamana Standing Female Figure, Mali

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Lot 71
Exquisite Bamana Standing Female Figure, Mali

Sold for US$ 81,325 inc. premium

African and Oceanic Art

13 May 2019, 17:00 EDT

New York

Exquisite Bamana Standing Female Figure, Mali
jonyeleni
height 24in (60.9cm)

Provenance
John J. Klejman, The J.J. Klejman Gallery, New York
Bertram and Ruth Malenka Collection, Boston, Massachusetts, acquired in 1960
Thence by descent

Published and Exhibited
Cambridge, Massachusetts, Designs for Living - Symbolic Communication in African Art, Carpenter Center for the Visual Arts jointly with the Peabody Museum of Archaeology and Ethnology, November 2 - December 20, 1982, p. 45, fig. 21.

Published
Robbins, Warren & Nancy Nooter, African Art in American Collections, Smithsonian Institute, 1989, fig. 81

According to Salia Malé, 'Jonyeleni figurines [are] representations of woman in the time of the first origination of Jo (an extremely complex and sacred concept connected with various rituals of the Bamana culture). These statues are the materialization of the soul of the female entity at the origin of the initiation practices which organize the society and maintain social order. According to Kate Ezra, quoted by N. Meyere, they are "exaggerated in their form ( . . . ) always shining with oil and composed of flat surfaces, cubes, cones and cylinders which join up sharp angles. They are sculpted with their clothing, pearls, metal jewels, and scarifications on the body. They refer to the young girl in her ideal state, at her highest degree of physical attraction."' (Colleyn, Jean Paul, Ed., Bamana - The Art of Existence in Mali, Museum for African Art, New York, 2001, p. 154)

Cf. (Ibid.) Cat. nos. 130 and 133 for related examples.

Standing stoically with a slight twist of her torso and gently looking up and to her left, the female wears a translucent blue agate stone earring in her right lobe. The coiffure is crested horizontally across her head, extending over raised, C-form ears. Her forehead extends over the eyes, each inset with metal tacks. Her head rests on a cylindrical neck on top of broad, squared shoulders that form the plane of the chest with large, cone-shaped breasts that extend confidently forward. Each elongated arm is held out at her sides, terminating with flat hands each with fingers etched out. Her torso, with abdomen raised outward at the umbilicus, rests on her large rounded buttocks and cylindrical legs tapering downwards and slightly bent at the knees. Exquisite scarification designs adorn her chest and back; rich, dark brown patina.

Saleroom notices

  • Please note the Provenance should read: Provenance John J. Klejman, The J.J. Klejman Gallery, New York Bertram and Ruth Malenka Collection, Boston, Massachusetts, acquired in 1960 Thence by descent Published and Exhibited Cambridge, Massachusetts, Designs for Living - Symbolic Communication in African Art, Carpenter Center for the Visual Arts jointly with the Peabody Museum of Archaeology and Ethnology, November 2 - December 20, 1982, p. 45, fig. 21.
Contacts
Exquisite Bamana Standing Female Figure, Mali
Exquisite Bamana Standing Female Figure, Mali
Exquisite Bamana Standing Female Figure, Mali
Exquisite Bamana Standing Female Figure, Mali
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