African art > African statues : tribal fetish, maternity > Senufo statue
Senufo statue (N° 22924)
Poro carvings in African tribal art
This female figure adopting curved lines belongs to the Senoufo style. The legs sink into the base forming a pestle called "sedine" or "dol" depending on the dialect. Tribal keloids inscribe on the body. Smooth black patina.
The Senoufos, the name given to them by French settlers, are mainly made up of farmers who have dispersed between Mali, Côte d'Ivoire and Burkina Faso. Councils of elders, headed by an elected chief, administer Senufo villages. Governed by matrilineal traditions, they are composed of clusters of dwellings called katiolo. Each of them has its own Poro association which initiates young boys from the age of seven in a succession of three cycles lasting seven years. They gather in a sacred enclosure called sinzanga located near the village, among the trees. Upon the death of one of the members of the Poro, the statues named pombibele were exhibited. Although exclusively masculine, the Poro society in fact pays homage through these statues to the supposed founder of the sinzanga. The feminine society sandogo manages divination in order to appease the spirits of the bush, and also has statues. The deble statues, used by the soothsayers, depict spirits of the bush in human form. These spirits receive offerings in exchange for their protection against all types of plagues.
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