African art > African statues : tribal fetish, maternity > Statuette Nyeleni
Statuette Bambara Nyeleni (N° 16601)
Sculpture named "little favorite", Nyeleni in Bambara, represented frontally, palms forward, breasts in "obus" on a narrow bust widening towards a wide prominent buttocks. The half-flexed legs are proportionally reduced. The face is covered with a streaked crest whose side mats frame the ears of the "en horseshoe. The piece, streaked with notches and parallel grooves, features a light brown matte patina with powdery beige ocré inlays.
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Desication cracks. The Bambara of central and southern Mali belong to the large Mande group, such as 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, who gave all the qualities to men and who grows the fruits of the earth. Large masked festivals close the initiation rites of the association dyo and the ritual of the gwan des bambara in the south of the Bambara country. Spread over a seven-year period for men, they are less demanding for women. The new initiates then celebrate, in groups, from village to village, their symbolic rebirth. It is the sons of the blacksmiths who dance around these statues that were available outside the festivities grouped on an altar after having oiled and decorated them. Each effigy carried a message unveiled to insiders.
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