A Senufo couple


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Category: SKU: GSC00114


A Senufo couple, rhythm pounder, called Déblé, Northern Ivory Coast, region Korhogo, village Diamtènè, standing on a tall cylindrical base, slender slightly bent legs terminating in prominent buttocks, an abstract elongated torso with pointed navel surrounded by ornamental scarification patterns, rounded shoulders, arms resting in front, rings on each wrist and upper arms, the female has strong conical breasts, both have a cylindrical neck, a heart-shaped face with a slightly protruding mouth beneath a long flattened nose framed by downcast demi-lune eyes, arching brows, semicircular flat ears projecting outwardly from the face, further scarification marks on the face and ears, capped by a domed coiffure; fine reddish, partly encrusted patina with significant traces of age and use, several cracks and an old authentic repair around the ear of the male rhythm pounder.

This type of sculpture – known under the name Déblé – is one of the most famous works of West African Art. After the early 1960th, when the Massa-Movement destroyed most of the important Senufo objects, only a few old, authentic Rhythm Pounder were saved and came to Western world. There are no sculptures from the time before 1960 existing anymore in the Senufo region of Ivory Coast, Burkina and Mali. But in some rural regions the old animistic tradition is still existing and also the funeral ceremonies, in which the Déblé rhythm pounder has it’s ritual function. There are differences in the ceremonies in comparison to the years before 1960. In particular the holy groves, don’t exist anymore or aren’t known by Western ethnologists. It were secret fields, where the Senufo placed their ritual sculptures in the forest. These precious objects would probably be stolen immediately because in nearly every village the Islamic influence becomes stronger and there are more people, who are against the old animistic tradition than decades before. Now these objects are protected in huts close to the village. After the 1960th most of these most important figures of the Senufo were protected in huts of the villages to protect them from theft. We are happy to offer some of these protected sculptures, which have a long-lasting ritual use and can be located exactly of the village, were they are coming from.

Lit.: Burkhard Gottschalk: Senufo. Massa und die Statuen des Poro, Düsseldorf 2002; Anita J. Glaze: Art and Death in a Senufo Village, Indiana University Press, Bloomington 1981; Robert Goldwater: Senufo Sculpture from West Africa, The Museum of Primitive Art New York, 1964; Kat. Ausst. Die Kunst der Senufo: Elfenbeinküste. Mit einem Beitrag von Till Förster, Staatliche Museen der Preußischer Kulturbesitz, Museum für Völkerkunde Berlin, 16.11.1990 – 24.2.1991, Berlin 1990; Die Kunst der Senufo, Museum Rietberg Zürich, aus Schweizer Sammlung, Zürich 1988; Susan Elizabeth Gagliardi: Senufo unbound. Dynamics of art and identity in West Africa, Cleveland 2015.

4.200 – 4.800,- Euro

Height: 120 cm / 115,5 cm
Weight: 7,5 kg / 8 kg

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Weight 15.5 kg