An exceptional female Senufo Rhytmpounder
An exceptional female Senufo Rhytmpounder, called Déblé, Northern Ivory Coast, region Diawala border district 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 sculpture - known 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 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 deble rhythm pounder has its 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 was 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. The patina is different from the old sculptures because they aren´t exposed to the weather anymore, even the traces of use are the same. According to the last owner, this sculpture comes from the Northern part of the Senufo region, around Koutiala and was a "replacement" sculpture, which was used several years during funeral ceremonies before it was sold to an antique dealer near Sikasso. Carving a sculpture like this requires a skilled craftsman with a high degree of old traditional knowledge. The statics is perfect (in the photo from the front side the statue is a little bit bent, because of the camera focus), but not in reality, no considerable age-crack, extremely hard wood, and incredible 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