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Bamana Female Pregnant Figure Mali 26 Inch African Art

$390.00
Product #: 96789
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Title Bamana Female Pregnant Figure Mali 26 Inch African Art
Type of Object Standing Figure
Country of Origin Mali
People Bamana
Materials Wood
Approximate Age 20th century
Dimensions 26 inches H. x 6 inches W. x 6.5 D.
Overall Condition Fair. Most of our pieces have spent decades on at least two continents, and have been treasured by several owners.   Small splits, scrapes and cracks are a normal part of their patina attesting to their age and extensive use.  We examine each piece carefully when we receive it and report any damage we find in our listings.  Please look carefully at the pictures which may also reveal condition and damage.
Damage/Repair Cracks and chips in places, wood flaws. Damage to foot as shown.


Additional Information: The features of this carving are somewhat ambiguous, but we believe it to come from the Bamana. The headdress is indicative of Bamana influcence, with long braided ropes over either ear.  The pose is also consistent with known Bamana motifs and reminds of the famed Jonyele figure style.  The hands rest on the pregnant belly.  The facial features aren't particularly distinctive, with rectangular eyes and mouth.  Carved from a single piece of solid, dark wood.


The extraordinary range of figural sculpture among the Bamana of Mali gives rise to a wide range of styles sharing certain identifying characteristics.  They can have, as in this work, an elongated torso, with short and slightly bent legs and prominent feet and with focus upon the head and hair and conically shaped breasts. This  figure presenting her breasts  with  her elegant posture and her beautiful head and face, is a  superb  carving with obvious age and evident traces of long  use . This figure  is known as Jomooni or Gwandusu among the Bamana serving as visual metaphor for the concept of regeneration and the difficulty of giving birth. Sculpture is an important visual component of the Jo initiation society for young girls and boys. Located primarily among the southern Bamana, Jo takes place over a span of years in which the initiates undergo training and instructions which includes the use of sculpture called masiriw - the visual ornaments of Jo. As part of annual celebrations that take place when the first rains of the year occur figures such as this would be taken from their shrine house to the center of the village where they would be ritually cleansed and decorated with beads. These events were directed to assure the fertility of women and crops and to acknowledge the ancestors.


 


Recommended reading: Colleyn , J.P. (ed,) 2001, Bamana, Art of Existence in Mali.