African art > Used objects, pulleys, boxes, loom, awale > Senoufo comb
Senoufo comb with bird design (N° 20941)
Equipped with a sculpted handle and sheathed in metal, this comb refers to the hornbill, which is the primordial bird that is part of the five animals of the Senoufo cosmogony, the first stage of the Senoufo creation. Evoked for morphological and behavioral criteria, it decorates in an emblematic way, in its miniature version, many Senoufo African art objects.
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Mainly farmers, the Senoufo group lives in a savannah region that covers the south of Mali and Burkina Faso, and the north of the Ivory Coast. It includes about fifty sub-ethnic groups. The Senufo speak a Voltaic language, Gur, like the Lobi and Koulango.
Councils of elders, headed by an elected chief, administer Senufo villages. Governed by matrilineal traditions, they are composed of clusters of dwellings named katiolo. Each has its own Poro association that initiates young boys from the age of seven in a succession of three seven-year cycles.
Living in a reserved neighborhood, the senufo sculptor, whose training spanned seven years, would begin by making everyday objects, then gradually sport sculptures of increasing size. Initiatory rituals completed his training.