|Title||Bamana Maternity Mali 33 Inch African Art|
|Type of Object||Carving Figure|
|Country of Origin||Mali|
|Materials||Wood, cotton cloth|
|Approximate Age||Mid 20th century|
|Dimensions||33 inches H. x 9.25 inches W. x 9.25 inches D.|
|Overall Condition||Poor to 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||Large cracks throughout the head, torso, abdomen, and base, chipped hairstyle, repair on mother's arms|
Additional Information: A large and well used bamana Female Figure with Child (Jomooni or Gwandusu Figures). Superb lines, wonderful attitude and profile! This figure would be well placed in a collection. Besides all the cracks, the piece was made out of hard wood and exposed to the elements. Overall, its condition is stable.
The extraordinary range of figural sculpture among the Bamana of Mali gives rise to a wide range of styles sharing certain identifying characteristics. The styles may range from elegant forms as this figure or reduced to sharply defined geometric sculptures. This wonderful Bamana figure is a rare classic carving with some age and long use stylistically located to the area between Bougouni and Diola. This seated, grave personage known as Jomooni or Gwandusu among the Bamana is called a maternity figure due to her holding a child at her waist, which represents not only a baby but the concept and difficulty of birth and regeneration. 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 sculptures as masiriw - the visual ornaments of Jow. 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. The hairstyle is typical of Bamana or even Dogon hairstyles shown in a double or tripartite division of woven strands along the side of the face with a longer strand at the back.
"For more information, and wonderful examples, see BAMANA -THE ART OF EXISTENCE IN MALI by Colleyn.