African art > African statues : tribal fetish, maternity > Bambara figure
Bambara female figure (N° 17860)
Smaller version of the sculpture known as the "little favorite," Nyeleni in Bambara, depicted standing, hands extending long arms resting on thighs. The feet, oversized, carry a slender body outlined with multicolored necklaces.br>
Desiccation cracks, crazing. Patina encrusted with ritual anointing.
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The Bambara of central and southern Mali belong to the large Mande group, like the Soninke and Malinke. They believe in the existence of a creator god generically called Ngala who maintains the order of the universe. His existence coexists with another androgynous god called Faro. Large masked festivals close the initiation rites of the dyo association and the ritual of the gwan of the Bambara in southern Bambara country.
Spread over a period of seven years as far as men are concerned, they are less demanding for women. The new initiates then celebrate, in groups, from village to village, their symbolic rebirth. These are the sons of the blacksmiths who dance around these statues that were placed outside the festivities grouped on an altar after having been oiled and decorated. Each effigy was the bearer of a message revealed to the initiated.
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