Tribal art > African Statues > Statue Bamana
Statue Bamana (N° 19876)
Female figure called "little favorite", Nyeleni in Bambara, erected on a circular base, arms spread out from the body, breasts in "shell" on a narrow bust. The face is topped with a ridged crest. The statuette, adorned with decorative motifs associated with traditional scarification marks, has a dull, abraded patina of age, revealing an underlying light wood.
The Bambara of central and southern Mali belong to the large Mande group, like the Soninke and Malinke. They believe in the existence of a creator god generically called Ngala who maintains the order of the universe. His existence coexists with another androgynous god called Faro, who gave all qualities to men and who makes the fruits of the earth grow.
Great masked festivals close the initiation rites of the dyo association and the ritual of the gwan of the Bambara in southern Bambara country.
Spread over a period of seven years as far as men are concerned, they are less demanding for women. The new initiates then celebrate, in groups, from village to village, their symbolic rebirth. These are the sons of the blacksmiths who dance around these statues that were placed outside the festivities grouped on an altar after having been oiled and decorated. Each effigy was the bearer of a message revealed to the initiated.
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