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HOME : African & Tribal Art : Senufo Sculptures : Senufo Wooden Sculpture of a Woman
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Senufo Wooden Sculpture of a Woman - PF.4651
Origin: Northern Ivory Coast/Mali
Circa: 20 th Century AD
Dimensions: 33" (83.8cm) high x 7.5" (19.1cm) wide
Collection: African
Medium: Wood

Location: United States
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The Senufo are famous for their superb sculptures and masks. They often combine basically human figures with highly imaginative abstract details, creating a synthesis of the spirit world and the physical realm. In a very real sense this makes manifest through art the "living" presence of spirit entities.

This beautiful statue is probably a fertility figure of an ancestral spirit or other entity intended to bring good-fortune to young women who hope to have a child. The elongated body and head, long arms and pensive expression are characteristic attributes of the Senufo style. Two particularly interesting features are the belt hanging in front and back, carved in squares containing a grid pattern within each. This has a startling effect when contrasted with the ribbed covering around the waist. The beautifully simple designs on the breast symbolize ritual scarification. The lovely lines radiating from the navel suggest the belief that the womb is the focal point of life in the universe. Her hands cupped at her waist further illustrates this idea, as if she is providing a perfect channel for the life force to enter. The talent of a master sculptor has given us a testimony in wood of the nobility of the human spirit, and the mysterious beauty of spirits from beyond.
- (PF.4651)


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