A Senufo Rhythmpounder couple, called Déblé, Northern Ivory Coast, coming from the Korhogo region, of the village Diamtènè round about 40 km from the city of Korhogo.
This type of sculptures – kown 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 Pounders were saved and came to the 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 its ritual function. The ceremonies are different in comparison to the years before 1960. In particular the holy groves, don´t exist anymore or aren’t known by Western ethnologists. They were secret areas in the forest, where the Senufo placed their ritual sculptures. These precious objects would probably have been stolen immediately, because the Islamic influence becomes stronger in nearly every village and there are more people, who are against the old animistic tradition than decades before. Since the 1960s most of these very important figures of the Senufo have been placed in huts close to the villages to protect them from theft. We are pleased to be able to offer some of these protected sculptures, which have continued to be used for ritual purposes on a permanent basis and which can be attributed to the very village from which they originated.
Lit.: Gottschalk Burkhard, “Senufo, Massa und die Statuen des poro”, Glaze Anita J., “Art and Death in a Senufo Village”, Indiana University Press, Bloomington 1981, Goldwater Robert, “Senufo Sculpture from West Africa” – The Museum of Primitive Art New York, 1964.
Height: 120 cm
Weight: 7,5 kg