African art > Statues > Mossi doll
Fertility statue Biga Mossi (N° 14560)
A schematic anthropomorphic fertility doll, whose head appearance varies by region, it represents a spirit with which a relationship is established. The tubular bust, slightly swollen at the abdomen, has a chest. The angular, stylized head evokes the feminine crest hairstyle, the parallel incisions, the scarifications and the braids of the ethnic group. Beautiful light brown patina abraded and sained by contact.
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The use of dolls by young African women is not done exclusively within the initiation context. When menstruation occurs, the girl is considered a potential mother. In many ethnic groups, the search for fertility is then done through rituals. Wooden figures will then be carved, some reflecting both genres, in many cases covered with pearls and clothing. During the period of confinement, the doll, which becomes a child who asks to be fed, washed and anointed on a daily basis, becomes the girl's only companion. After initiation, they will be carried behind the women's backs, or tied to their necks. The wooden dolls ( biiga), carved in their spare time by the blacksmiths of Burkina Faso, are offered to girls, as well as boys, by their parents. The Mossi the wealthiest, buy plastic dolls. In case the girl does not give birth, a larger doll is sculpted to treat her as a real newborn. The doll will not be abandoned after the birth of the child, the mother will continue to take care of it. If the birth has not taken place, the doll will be offered as an educational toy to a child. (Elizabeth L.Cameron)
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