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HOME : African & Tribal Art : African Sculptures : Wooden Puppet Figure (Bozo?)
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Wooden Puppet Figure (Bozo?) - DC.316 (LSO)
Origin: Mali
Circa: 20 th Century AD
Dimensions: 34" (86.4cm) high
Collection: Africa
Medium: Wood, pigment

Location: United States
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This amusing figure seems to be a marionette (puppet), and is of uncertain origin. It is particularly well-detailed, with a tall red fez, a broad nose, a fringe beard, thin lips in a humorous smirk, and highlighted eyes with black pupils. The body is columnar, widening at the hips, and with a T-bar complex for attachment of the arms (absent).

The best puppeteers of Africa are arguably the Bozo of Mali, although the Nyamezi of Tanzania are also notable for their jointed figures. The uncertainty springs from the piece’s unusual surface treatment. Most Nyamezi pieces are dark wood with very small limbs, while the majority of Bozo models are columnar pieces covered with metal plating. The base-like inferior aspect is also unusual, and the detailing is exceptional. The fact that it represents a gentleman of Islamic descent is also indicative, increasing the chance that it is Malian in origin.

This is an impressive piece of African art.

- (DC.316 (LSO))


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