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HOME : African & Tribal Art : Djenne : Djenne Terracotta Sculpture
Djenne Terracotta Sculpture - PF.3278
Origin: Mali
Circa: 12 th Century AD to 14 th Century AD
Dimensions: 41" (104.1cm) high
Collection: African
Medium: Terracotta


Location: United States
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Description
The Djenne culture of Mali produced marvelous terra-cotta sculptures. Within Djenne pottery, there is a clear distinction between utilitarian and cult pottery. Better in quality, the cult pottery, such as this spherical one, had its own place on the altar. Moreover, Djenne art is differentiated by its unique quality. Many of their terra-cotta sculptures are abstract in form and symbolic of nature. This fascinating sculpture radiates with its deep, rich color of terracotta red, and it stands out with its juxtaposing forms. The contrast between the roundness of the bottom half of the sculpture (resembling a jar) and a minimal representation of a phallus on the top intensifies the sculpture's physical presence and the artistic aura. Such bold representation perhaps signifies much more than a literal interpretation. Perhaps it symbolizes life and procreation. Or perhaps it signifies the energy of the male gender and was used in rituals the ancient Djenne tribe performed. The sculpture's bold expression and its effects are striking to the viewers today, as they were to the ancient people of Africa. - (PF.3278)

 

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