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HOME : African & Tribal Art : Djenne : Djenne Terracotta Sculpture of a Kneeling Man
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Djenne Terracotta Sculpture of a Kneeling Man - PF.3290
Origin: Central Mali
Circa: 12 th Century AD to 16 th Century AD
Dimensions: 11.25" (28.6cm) high x 5.5" (14.0cm) wide
Collection: African Art
Medium: Terracotta

Location: United States
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This dramatic terracotta figure of a kneeling man was sculpted by creative and skillful artisan in the West Africa Republic of Mali. Around the time of its creation the Mali Empire was at its zenith, for by the end of 12th century the legendary king Sundjiata had greatly enlarged both the wealth and size of his territory. Created in such prosperous and glorious period, the kneeling figure displays dramatic and emotional feelings through its minimal sculptural quality. The shape of the body is exaggerated and accentuated to achieve successful visual affect--the elongated arms appear thin and fluid, and the bottom of torso and legs are large. It seems to be rooted on the earth. Such way of sculpting, giving attention to each parts of the body, reveals a true human emotional sensitiveness. With his tilted head, the curious facial expression, and the earthy posture, the figure creates a very dramatic affect. Such marvelous sculpture probably had a ritual and magical function in ancient Africa. It is interesting to note how viewers today still feel and appreciate the humanism and emotional expression of the ancient sculpture. Time has passed and changed but what we feel and appreciate inside as humans seem to remain timeless. - (PF.3290)


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