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HOME : African & Tribal Art : Senufo Sculptures : Senufo Wooden Fertility Sculpture
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Senufo Wooden Fertility Sculpture - PF.5885
Origin: Ivory Coast
Circa: 20 th Century AD
Dimensions: 15.25" (38.7cm) high x 4" (10.2cm) wide
Collection: African
Medium: Wood

Location: United States
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This wooden sculpture might be the representation of the Senufo goddess Kalieleo. She is the female counterpart of Koulo Tiolo, the Creator who was thought to be asleep, and thus was never depicted in sculptural form. However, the representations of Kalieleo are very widespread in the Senufo art. She was the guardian mother of the village, protector of the Poro, a secret society of males responsible with passing on the sacred knowledge of the physical and spiritual world. She can be represented alone or giving the breast to a child. In this sculpture, she stands alone majestically composed and dignified. Her arms fall along her sides and rest on her hips. Her large breasts have been exaggerated, suggesting her bountiful fertility. She is embellished with all the identifying features of Senufo royalty including an elaborately braided coiffure, jewelry, and decorative bodily scarifications. Her hair has been styled into a central crest from which a large protrusions fall over her forehead and the nape of her neck. She wears a necklace complete with a large square pendant that rests in between he breasts. Various bracelets and armbands decorate her limbs. Her face bears the mark of scars while the scars around her belly carved in a cross-shape are indicative of the Senufo. Whether or not this woman is the goddess Kalieleo can be questioned; however, one cannot doubt the significance of this sculpture as a symbol of beauty and fertility. - (PF.5885)


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