Indiana University Bloomington IU Bloomington IUB

Female Figure

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.

Senufo peoples, Côte d’Ivoire/Mali/Burkina Faso
Female Figure
Early 20th century?
Wood, incrustation
H. 6 ¾ in. (17.1 cm)
Sidney and Lois Eskenazi Museum of Art, Raymond and Laura Wielgus Collection, 98.569