Senufo Seated Female Guardian

c. 1900
$1,680 USD
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W: 4.0" D: 5.0" H: 17.25"
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Likely the work of Kulebele woodcarvers, a group of itinerant artists commissioned for their work, this carved wooden figure evokes the role women played as spiritual mediators and guardians among the Senufo people of Côte d' Ivoire. Attention is paid to her stylized features, ritual scarification on the face and body, and the bracelets she wears according to her powerful status. The figure clasps a knife and chicken in her hands, perhaps alluding to the ritual offerings that that were made to it as a shrine sculpture honoring ancestors. It may also been used during divination process to facilitate communication with the spirit world. We’re struck by the skill with which the artist used natural wood grain to enhance its power and the lovely dark sheen it’s acquired from fervent handling.

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