Bamana Do Nyeleni figure (Three quarters view)
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Item : Bamana Do Nyeleni figure, Picture : Three quarters view (approx. 12 Kbytes)

This Bamana figure was used in the fertility rituals of the dyow societies, and its role was to ensure the vital force within the village. For this reason, it played a significant role at the initiation ceremonies of the young adults (dyo initiates) : transmission of the social and moral rules of conduct, perpetuation of the religious practices and of the ancestors' cult (faro, goddess of water).
Used by the secret associations called dyow and gwan (arranged in a hierarchical order of initiations, with complex and esoteric levels of knowledge), this statue may serve to express the institution of marriage, but also help to make the blacksmith performances the most successful in divination and healing rituals.

The bust, chiseled on a single plan above the abdomen set off the bulky breasts. The schematic volumes reduce the plastic to what is here considered as the essential and underline elements linked to womanliness and fertility. These two notions are fundamental in the tradition and the representation of the dyo nyeleni statues.

18th / 19th century.

Object #2495

Origin :

Mali (Bougouni area)

Type :


Ethnic group :

Bamana (Bambara)

Material :

Wood, brownish red aged patina

Size :

H = 17.3 inches

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