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HOME : African & Tribal Art : Bambara Sculptures : Bambara Iron Sculpture of a Woman
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Bambara Iron Sculpture of a Woman - PF.5758
Origin: Mali
Circa: 19 th Century AD to 20 th Century AD
Dimensions: 13" (33.0cm) high x 2.5" (6.4cm) wide
Collection: African
Medium: Iron

Location: United States
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This standing female figure carries a jug on her head. The container has been incised with a few decorative bands of triangular patterns. Her body is emaciated and elongated, particularly evident in her narrow face. Although her square head is more geometric than naturalistic, the details of her facial structure are thoroughly conveyed including her slightly projecting ears, her broad flat nose, and her straight wide mouth. While her head is flattened on the sides, her columnar body is flattened on the front and back. Her limbs are especially thin, contrasting to her large, paddle-like hands and feet that have been softy engraved with lines suggesting fingers and toes. Her torso is widest at the shoulders and her waist does broaden outwards all around, but only slightly when compared to the head. Her small, round breasts are represented as two little mounds attached to her chest. Overall, this fabulous sculpture is characteristic of the Bambara (also called Bamana) stylized iron human figures. This stiff representation of a woman captures her in the midst of her daily chores. However, there is something majestic about this sculpture. Here, the artist and artistry are allowed to blossom without regards to formal concerns over royal iconography or tastes. This figure represents the common tribal villager, and yet the work is not common at all. - (PF.5758)


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