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HOME : African & Tribal Art : Senufo Sculptures : Senufo Wooden Sculpture of a Woman
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Senufo Wooden Sculpture of a Woman - PF.5910
Origin: Ivory Coast
Circa: 20 th Century AD
Dimensions: 20.5" (52.1cm) high x 4.25" (10.8cm) wide
Collection: African
Medium: Wood

Additional Information: AF8
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 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 the Senufo elite including an elaborate, jewelry, and decorative bodily scarifications. Her hair has been styled into a central crest from which a large protrusions fall over her forehead, the sides of her head, and the nape of her neck that is typical of this type of figure. She wears pairs of bracelets and armbands that decorate her limbs. Her face, breasts, and belly bears the mark of scars. The cross-shaped pattern carved around her protruding navel is an identifying feature of the Senufo tribe that distinguishes her from others. 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 feminine beauty and fertility. - (PF.5910)


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