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Bruce Frank Primitive Art
New York City, NY
+1 917 733 9589

Female Staff Figure

Bamana, Mali
19th-early 20th century

Provenance:  James Willis Gallery, San Francisco. American collection, acquired from above in the 1970’s, by descent to family member.

Originally this figure adorned the top of a ritual staff used to initiate girls into womanhood.  Its color is   reddish brown, and it depicts a female figure with arms held away from its sides and hands joined to the upper thighs. The coiffure is a high crest.  The torso and head are quite angular in character. The breasts are conical shaped and protrude. Incised geometric patterns appear on the face, chest and front and back of its torso.  A metal labret extends down under the chin.   A very similar example most likely carved by the same artist or workshop is in the Brooklyn Museum collection, (Accession Number: 1989.51.44), and was also published and exhibited in 1960 at The Museum of Primitive Art’s show “Bambara Sculpture of the Western Sudan”, fig 80.

Female Staff figure currently in the Brooklyn Museum Collection, and published in the Museum of Primitive Art’s exhibition, “Bambara Sculpture of the Western Sudan”, 1960; fig. 80

Female Staff Figure

Bamana, Mali
19th-early 20th century

Provenance:  James Willis Gallery, San Francisco. American collection, acquired from above in the 1970’s, by descent to family member.

Originally this figure adorned the top of a ritual staff used to initiate girls into womanhood.  Its color is   reddish brown, and it depicts a female figure with arms held away from its sides and hands joined to the upper thighs. The coiffure is a high crest.  The torso and head are quite angular in character. The breasts are conical shaped and protrude. Incised geometric patterns appear on the face, chest and front and back of its torso.  A metal labret extends down under the chin.   A very similar example most likely carved by the same artist or workshop is in the Brooklyn Museum collection, (Accession Number: 1989.51.44), and was also published and exhibited in 1960 at The Museum of Primitive Art’s show “Bambara Sculpture of the Western Sudan”, fig 80.

Female Staff figure currently in the Brooklyn Museum Collection, and published in the Museum of Primitive Art’s exhibition, “Bambara Sculpture of the Western Sudan”, 1960; fig. 80

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