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Bamana Boli Zoomorphic Power Sculpture Mali African Art

Regular Price: $450.00

Special Price: $399.00

Product #: 103479
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Title Bamana Boli Zoomorphic Power Sculpture Mali African Art
Type of Object Boli figure
Country of Origin Mali
People Bamana
Materials wood, unidentified organic materials
Approximate Age 20th century
Dimensions Height: 7 Inches
Width: 3.5 Inches
Depth: 9 Inches
Overall Condition Good. 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, left foot chipped away. dirty, crumbly surface


Additional Information: A mysterious creature in a stylized and unidentified animal form. The core is likely made of wood which has been repeatedly covered with thick layers of clay impregnated with sacrificial and organic materials such as millet, chicken or goat's blood, kola nuts, libations, tree bark, roots, horn, animal bones etc. The true contents of a Boli figure are generally ambiguous because of the secrecy of the Kono society.  Consistent with the known motif, this figure shows four legs and a hump on the top.  Several cracks in the surface suggest significant age.


Such figures were found among the Bamana people of Mali known for their prolific production of masks and figures. These figures called Boli (plural Boliw) were used by the male Kono society. They were handled only by the chief or a priest because of their sacred character. Boliw served as receptacles for spiritual forces and honored for the well-being of the community. As a power figure, a Boli was kept in a community shrine and sacrifices (chicken's blood, millet beer) were offered to the spirit imbued in this figure. It was said that Boli symbolizes the "universe and the harness spiritual power".


This figure is in good condition and would stand in any collection for the mystery and character it represents. 


Recommended Reading:


Jean-Paul Colleyn et al. BAMANA THE ART OF EXISTENCE IN MALI


Jean-Baptist Bacquart, TRIBAL ARTS OF AFRICA; Jacques Kerchache et al in ART OF AFRICA