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HOME : African & Tribal Art : African Collection/ HK : Bambara Wooden Guandousou Sculpture of a Mother and Child
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Bambara Wooden Guandousou Sculpture of a Mother and Child - PF.6020
Origin: Central Mali
Circa: 20 th Century AD
Dimensions: 41" (104.1cm) high
Collection: African
Medium: Wood

Additional Information: Hong Kong

Location: Great Britain
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The African tribes, such as the Bambara, preferred to think of the spirits of their ancestors collectively rather than in terms of separate individuals. This is the result of the animism that underlies their religious beliefs. Such religious beliefs have been termed animism because they believed that a spirit exists in every living thing. Spirits dwell in the earth, in rivers and lakes, in the rain, in the sun and moon; still others demand to be appeased in order to promote fertility or cure disease. Their dwelling places may be given the shape of human figures, such as this glorious human figure of mother and child. In this case, such spirits sometimes achieve enough of a stable identity to be viewed as rudimentary deities. This seems to be true of the very fine mother and child figure from Mali. She definitely represents the strongly revered fertility spirits. The Bambara would dance and act out similar dramatic ceremonies to appease this deity in order to promote fertility. The mother sits upon a stool, the penultimate symbol of authority throughout Africa. She wears a helmet-like headdress from which her sinuous locks of hair fall down and touch her predominant full breasts. Her child is nestled at her abdomen clinging to her torso in a tight hug. The mother exchanges the warm gesture by placing her arm (the other having broken off) against the child’s back. We feel the thrill of birth through this spectacular figure and the great emotional intensity of dances and ceremonies remains imbued in the powerful appearance of this carving today. - (PF.6020)


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