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Female Figure

Culture Senufo
Title Female Figure
Date Early 20th century (?)
Medium Wood and incrustation
Dimensions Object: 6 3/4 × 3 5/16 × 1 15/16 in. (17.1 × 8.4 × 4.9 cm)
Overall (includes mount): 7 1/8 × 3 5/16 × 1 15/16 in. (18.1 × 8.4 × 4.9 cm)
Credit Line Raymond and Laura Wielgus Collection, Eskenazi Museum of Art, Indiana University
Accession Number 98.569

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About this Work

Though its legs were destroyed by fire, this diminutive figure has retained its monumental presence. Likely from the northern Senufo region where Côte d’Ivoire, Mali, and Burkina Faso meet, the figure displays facial scarification recalling the Mossi of Burkina Faso, while the hairstyle and the pattern around the navel depict old Senufo traditions. The figure’s size suggests that it may have been part of a female/male pair used in Sandogo, a powerful women’s divination society. Sandogo figures are believed to be the physical representatives of bush spirits that are the chief source of a diviner’s power and the origin of both success and misfortune for Senufo individuals.

Provenance research is ongoing for this and many other items in the Eskenazi Museum of Art permanent collection. For more information about the provenance of this artwork, please contact the department curator with specific questions.

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"Female Figure | Collections Online." Collections Online. Sidney and Lois Eskenazi Museum of Art, Indiana University, 2024.