Origin: Senufo Tribe, Ivory Coast
This figure is utilized in the context of ritual practices that are loosely translated as Kafigeledjo, or “tell the truth” or “saying true things”. Through the shrouded form, the figure provides reference to spirits of the bush. According to Alisa LaGamma (“Art and Oracle, African Art and Rituals of Divination”, Metropolitan Museum of Art Press, Pl. 4, pg 26), the rituals of divination in which the Kafigeledjo figure is employed are used “to uncover misdeeds, false testimony, and culpability…this pursuit of the truth ultimately seeks to preserve and uphold Senufo social guidelines concerning descent. It does so by unveiling illicit behavior and by punishing with supernatural sanctions those who violate rules pertaining to forbidden sexual relations and exogamous marriage.” This is one part of an elaborate, mysterious, and important function the figure serves. The complete text of LaGamma’s narrative is attached to this document.
Aesthetically, the form and presentation of the figure are extremely compelling and interesting. The figure has nuances or layers which the viewer cannot ignore - that under the textile covering there is a figure, the form of which can only be loosely deciphered; the elongated, loose-hanging “arm” which opens into a two-pronged instrument has a mysterious meaning and function upon which we can only speculate. We can assert that the other “arm” forms a hatchet or a farming tool, but this too would only be speculative.
|Location of Origin: Africa|
|Medium/Materials: wood, woven fiber, feathers, ritual accumulation, pigment, paint|
|Dimensions: 88.9 cm, 35” (h), 7'', 18 cm (w), 12 cm, 5'' (d)|
|Primary Classification: African Artwork, Ethnographic & Tribal Arts : African Art|
|Condition: Excellent, indigenous cut in original fabric near "mouth", no previous known restoration|
Exhibited, 2014, Paris, Parcours des Mondes
Published: "A Call to the Beyond", 2014
Literature:LaGamma “Art and Oracle, African Art and Rituals of Divination”, Metropolitan Museum of Art Press, Pl. 4, pg 26
In a number of voyages throughout West Africa, these types of figures were a source of interest among local village dealers and individuals who took an interest in African art. On more than one occasion it was noted how scarce even decorative examples were; one Ivorian dealer asserted to us that he believed it was because among the Senufo these figures were, even to this day, considered sacred and not to be simply reproduced for sale due to their intense spiritual function and power.
|Provenance: Ex. Sotheby’s, New York, Lot 63, November 2013, Ex. Private Collection Allan Stone, NY|
|Price:||Item has been sold.|
|Offered By:||Items for sale from dealers we worked with previously|
121 Mount Vernon, Boston, MA 02108 USA
Item has been sold.
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