Always represented sitting on a stool, this Bambara statue, with its piercing gaze, has a high "shell-shaped" chest. The hands placed in front form large flat areas, framing a narrow columnar bust. Beautiful golden brown patina alternating satin and velvety areas. Abrasions. Cracks and missing parts.
These female statues , or Bambara queens , Guandoudou , Gwandusu associated with fertility and fecundity, were surrounded by statues representing their servants, presenting offering cups or supporting their chest. The blacksmiths of the Dyo society, Djo or Do , used them every seven years during the fertility ritual. Infertile women then had to sacrifice a bird, wash the figures with a peanut soap, segue, then anoint them with shea oil. They also adorned them with necklaces to activate their magical power.
The Bambara or Bamana are found in central and southern Mali. This name means "unbeliever" and was given to them by Islam. They belong to the large Mande group, like the Soninke and the Malinke. They believe in the existence of a creator god generically called Ngala, who has 266 sacred attributes. One, for each day of the 9 lunar months that a child's gestation period lasts. Ngala maintains order to the universe. His existence coexists with another androgynous god called Faro, who gave all the qualities to the men and who makes the fruits of the earth grow.
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