African art > African statues : tribal fetish, maternity > Senoufo statuettes
Pair of Senoufo statuettes (N° 18065)
In view of the crusty dark patina whose reddish surface is locally dotted, and on which fragments of chick feathers remain frozen, these senoufo statuettes, among the wide variety of anthropomorphic statuary produced by the ethnic group, form interesting specimens of works sculpted for divination purposes. A helmet crest, wide ear pavilions, thin lips inscribed in a protruding jaw conferring vigour and determination on the face, and a dynamic general attitude brought both by the flexing of the limbs and the tension of the chest and abdomen, all articulated with beauty. These figures of (binoculars?) couple, made in a light wood, were probably planted in the ground, like most statues, thanks to the blocks underfoot.
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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. Governed by matrilineal traditions, the villages are composed of clusters of dwellings named katiolo . Each of them has its own association Poro which introduces young boys from the age of seven into a succession of three cycles lasting seven years. At the time of the death of one of the members of the Poro, the statues named pombibele were exhibited. Although exclusively male, Poro actually pays tribute with these statues to the supposed founder of the sinzanga The women's society sandogo manages divination to appease the spirits of the bush, and also has statues. The statues deble , used by soothsayers, depict spirits of the bush in a human form. These spirits receive offerings in exchange for their protection from any kind of plague.
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