An exceptional female Senufo Rhytmpounder, called Déblé, Northern Ivory Coast, region Diawala borderdestrict Mali/Ivory Coast.; fine aged patina of shiny surface, provenance Mohamed Belo Garba. Déblé of this age and signs of ritual use become rare nowadays.
This type of sculptures – kown under the name deble -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 deble 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, doesn´t exist anymore or arn´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 tradion than decades before. Now these objects are protected in huts close to the village. The patina is different than the old sculptures, because they aren´t exposed the weather anymore, even the traces of use are the same. According of the last owner this sculpture comes from the Northern part of the Senufo region, around Koutiala and was a “replacement” sculpture, which were used several years during funeral ceremonies before it was sold to an antique-dealer near Sikasso. To carve a sculpture like this requires a skilled craftman with a high degree of the old traditional knowledge. The statics is perfect (at the photo from the frontside the statue is a little bit bent, because of the camera-focus), but not in reality, no considerable age-crack, extremly hard wood, an incredibile technical skill must be the base for the purpose of this statue: to pound this fragile but heavy sculpture rhythmically on the ground.
Homberger, Lorenz (Katalog) Die Kunst der Senufo aus Schweizer Sammlungen. Texte: Till Förster, Objektfotos: Wettsein+Kauf Zürich, Museum Rietberg, 1988, Koloss, Hans-Joachim; Förster, Till, Die Kunst der Senufo, Elfenbeinküste, 1979. Museum für Völkerkunde, Berlin, Burkhard Gottschalk Senoufo. Massa et les Statues du Poro, Düsseldorf: Verlag U. Gottschalk, 2002.
4.200 – 4.800,- Euro
Height: 128 cm
Weight: 10,7 kg