A Senufo couple


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Category: SKU: BBC05245


A Senufo couple of the carver Karnigi Coulibaly, 1890 – 1969, or his workshop, a Fono sculptor, Fonondara, Côte d‘Ivoire.

Each figure standing on a semicircular base, flat feet, well-formed legs, a pointed navel with scarifications, square shoulders, the arms bent with bangles above the elbow and the hands streched out to the front, the breasts of the female statue are long and pointed decorated with scarifications, both statues wear an amulett, the mouth is protruding and slightly open, the nose long and broad at the tip, the almond-shaped eyes arched by long brows which are connected in the middle, the coiffure in four long braids and a small one hangs down the neck; dark brown patina, a few small age cracks on both statues, the base of the male statue has a little bit wider crack in the front and on the left leg is an insect damage, otherwise in fine condition.

Krieg and Lohse, Kunst und Religion bei den Gbato-Senufo, 1981, p. 45, male figure collected 1964 in Fononlara, Sotheby’s, 12 Dec 2012, Lot 76, Yale Archive, no. 0128351, Himmelheber, Negerkunst und Negerkünstler, 1960, p. 65, https://jaenicke-njoya.com/Bi339/pages/P7031263.htm

The information from Krieg is likely to be a typographical or hearing error. Not “Fononlara” but “Fonondara”. Mohamed Belo Garba gives “Nafou” as the place where this couple is collected in situ, which sounds plausible as the two villages are not far from each other.

The women´Divination society, Anita Glaze, Art and Death in the Senufo village, 1981, p 54 , For a few other works from this limited corpus, see also: Sotheby’s (New York, May 17, 2007, n ° 9), Saul and Marsha Stanoff collection, and Lehuard (in Arts d’Afrique Noire, n ° 47, Automne 1983, p . 23), Béatrice Riese collection. Used by the diviners of the Sandogo female society, these statuettes were considered to support relationships between individuals and spirits. Their – small – dimension is explained by the adequacy between the material of the diviner and the deliberately reduced, intimate space in which they receive patients (Glaze, 1981, p. 57). They are sometimes imposed, as here, by the monumentality of their sculpture, superbly combining strength and sensuality.

Height: 35 cm / 34 cm
Weight: 590 g / 660 g

photo: wj Another sculpture of this region, we
collected 2008 in situ.

Bitte an dieser Stelle das Foto aus Himmelheber “Negerkunst und Negerkünstler”
!960, S 65, unterstes Foto ganz rechts. hinzufügen.


Stylistically from the same workshop, one carver is characterized
by a softer style and, as a distinguishing feature, the pigtails
at the back are higher than the front ones.
 But it can also be that
there are different phases in the development of one and the same
Then the pair of figures shown is likely to be a late work.
It is more likely, however, that there are two different, similarly gifted


More picture

Additional information

Weight 1.250 kg