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HOME : African & Tribal Art : Miscellaneous : African Art / Senufo Wooden Champion's Baton
African Art / Senufo Wooden Champion's Baton - PF.4535
Origin: Northern Ivory Coast/Mali
Circa: 20 th Century AD
Dimensions: 60" (152.4cm) high x 2.5" (6.4cm) wide
Collection: African
Medium: Wood

Location: United States
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When a young Senufo artist begins his apprenticeship, he starts by making secular objects, such as mortars and other household items. Only when he has successfully completed his initiation is he allowed to work on objects connected with ritual. This very elegant baton is a work of art that required fine skills from a highly trained sculptor. It was given to victors in competitions organized by land workers. For a young Senufo man there was no higher honor, which is indeed reflected in the baton's artistry.

The female who sits confidently on the top represents the ideal of beauty, the perfect bride possessing all the attributes a man could want and desire. She is noble and proud, as well as very sensual with her extended breasts offering promise of many healthy children. To win this baton not only proved a man's prowess in competition, it also showed him as virile and a good provider for a family. Holding this lovely baton brings alive the triumph of the victor, who held it high for all the young women of his village to see.
- (PF.4535)


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