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HOME : African & Tribal Art : Masterpieces of African Art : Senufo Wooden Maternity Sculpture
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Senufo Wooden Maternity Sculpture - PF.2848
Origin: Northern Ivory Coast/Mali
Circa: 18th th Century AD to 19th th Century AD
Dimensions: 41.5" (105.4cm) high x 7" (17.8cm) wide
Catalogue: V13
Collection: African Art
Style: Senufo
Medium: Wood


Location: Great Britain
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Description
Through art we can become quiet observers of a domestic scene, and there are few sights more touching than a woman breast feeding her baby. In her gentle repose this dignified mother allows us to be part of an intimate moment in her life. She is naked from the waist up, with a thick band around her stomach and bracelets on her upper arms. By curving the biceps the sculptor has shown the tightening of the bracelets, while continuing the overall curvature of form, descending in a beautiful flowing motion around the hips and thighs. The conical shape achieves its highest expression in the beautiful headdress. This lovely adornment perfectly mirrors her oval face, offering a marvelous sense of harmony and balance, continued in the enlarged breast which the baby suckles.

The Senufo carvers, kulebele, created statues for various cults linked with agricultural work, used in festivities and fertility cults. Growth of the soil in the form of life sustaining food is linked with the seed of man growing inside the woman, both are the life force blossoming for the general good of the community. And both are of great importance deserving the sculptor's consummate skills. Often ancestors are depicted as ideal models expressing admired values and virtues, such as motherhood. This superb statue embodies the essence of maternity- palpable and stirring, a woman content in the pride of motherhood which transports her to another level of deep inner peace, seen in the blissful expression on her face.
- (PF.2848)

 

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