African art > Dolls > Biga doll
Biga Mossi Fertility Doll (N° 17159)
A schematic anthropomorphic figure, whose appearance of the head varies by region, it represents a spirit with which a relationship is established. The tubular bust, slightly bulging in the abdomen, has conical breasts. The thin angular head worn by a long neck refers to the female hairstyle in crest, the incisions parallel to the scarifications and braids of the ethnic group. Locally thinly lit dark brown glossy patina.
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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 done through intitiatic rites. Wooden figures will then be carved, some reflecting both genres, in many cases coated with beads 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 the initiation, they will be carried behind the women's backs, or tied to their necks. Wooden dolls ( biiga), sculpted in their spare time by blacksmiths in 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 like a real newborn. The doll will not be abandoned after the birth of the child, the mother will continue to care for it. If the birth did not take place, the doll will be offered as an educational toy to a child. (Elizabeth L.Cameron)
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