Bronze Pendent

IHK 0917-3 

Senufo or Tussian (Tousian) Bronze / Copper alloy Pendent, Ivory Coast or Burkina Faso

This little bearded male figure with his hands folded around the bended knees may have constituted one figure in a gendered pair used during divination consultations, or a diviner or client may have acquired it from an artist to wear singly on the body.

Throughout the 20th century, sandogo associations in northern Ivory Coast promoted the integrity of each matrilineage and trained some of its members in divination to encourage communication between humans and the spirit world. Diviners in the region continue to display wooden and brass figures during their consultations with men and women. They also wear cast brass ornaments and prescribe them for their clients to encourage spiritual protection and healing.

Men (and women) gained access to sandogo through their mother’s families, the lineages the institution protects. The arts and practices of women’s sandogo and its counterpart, the men’s poro initiation association, underscore the importance of gender complementarity. Divinatory spirits and sculptures created for them are often referred to as ndebele, madebele, and tugubele (sing.: ndeo, madeo, and tugu) in several Senufo dialects. People commonly link divinatory spirits with nature, namely water, trees, and uncultivated landscapes beyond town and city limits. They conceive nature spirits as anthropomorphic beings with feet that point backwards, often invisible to the human eye.

Provenance: The CO Hultén Collection, Sweden. Acquired in the 1950s

Condition: This is one of the many perfect lost vax bronze, copper alloy created figures from the Senufo tribe. The figure appears in an exceptionally beautiful cast bronze. The fine smooth surface testifies to its high quality.

Dimensions:  H: 4,5 cm., D: 2,5 cm – weight 80 gram

Age: 19th–mid-20th century

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