A Senufo guardian figure or propi:ibèlè of the carver of the diskshaped buttocks or of his workshop. This very rare female Senufo sculpture, Ivory Coast, is standing on a cylindrical base, short legs, elongated torso, the navel surrounded by radially arranged scarification marks, rounded shoulders, very long arms with one ring around each upper arm and four around each wrist, the hands clenched into fists resting on the short skirt, the breasts protruding, on each four scarification marks, on the long and slender neck, around which two square amulets are hanging, one in the front and one on the back, rests an elongated head with an iroquois-like brush hair cut, the lips are presented as two short bridges, the nose is long and flat, the eyes are straight and closed and the ears are worked as rings, in whose middle is a deepening; mahogany-colored, shiny patina, several small cracks.
The piece, which is of quite extraordinary quality, reminds of cubistic works. Burkhard Gottschalk writes that this is not a rhythm pounder (Débéle, do:ogèlè), but a very rare stationary used guardian figure. These sculptures are called propi:ibèlè, „children of the Poro”.
“Their membership of the Poro would be an explanation for our little knowledge of their significance, because this organisation, which largely determines the village world of the Senufo, is a secret society. … Even rarer are the statues [propi:ibèlè] … of which it is only said that they belong to the Poro, because there is no reliable information about their use.“ Burkhard Gottschalk, Kunst aus Schwarzafrika. SENUFO. Unbekannte Schätze aus privaten Sammlungen, 2009, p.174, 179.
Lit.: Burkhard Gottschalk, Senufo. Massa und die Statuen des Poro, 2002; Staatliche Museen der Preußischer Kulturbesitz, Museum für Völkerkunde Berlin, Die Kunst der Senufo, Elfenbeinküste. Mit einem Beitrag von Till Förster, 1990; Museum Rietberg Zürich, Die Kunst der Senufo aus Schweizer Sammlungen, 1988; Susan Elizabeth Gagliardi, Senufo unbound. Dynamics of art and identity in West Africa, Cleveland 2015.
3.200 – 3.600,- Euro
Height: 83 cm
Weight: 4,7 kg