Bamana seated figure (Three quarters view)
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Item : Bamana seated figure, Picture : Three quarters view (approx. 18 Kbytes)

This Bamana seated figure was used in the fertility rituals 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. Large figures as this one are cared for by senior members of the associations, and are displayed during their annual celebrations. They are washed to remove extraneous matter, re-oiled and adorned with clothing, additional adornments, such as the nose ring on this example, enhance the figure's beauty and allure. Then sacrifices are made on the entrance to the house where they are kept.

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 Bamana sculptures.

18th / 19th century.

Provenance :
Purchased from a private collection, Los Angeles
Private collection, Paris

Object #5167

Origin :

Mali (Bougouni area)

Type :


Ethnic group :

Bamana (Bambara)

Material :

Wood, metal and cloth, thick encrusted aged patina

Size :

H = 23.4 inches

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