Lot: 199

Female figure "deble", "doogele" or "poro piibele"

Côte d'Ivoire, Senufo

Provenance Size Starting price / estimated price
Theo Poppmeier, Graz, Austria
Zemanek-Münster, Würzburg, 28 November 2009, Lot 364
Austrian Collection
H: 44.5 inch 3500 EUR / 6000 EUR

wood, insect caused damage, rest.

A figure of the same workshop or of the same master published in AHDRC 0137041. This could possibly be the male counterpart to the present female figure.

The social, economic and spiritual lives of the Senufo are governed by an overarching initiation society known as the "poro".

Traditional sculpture of figures and masks play an important role in the "poro" society. Figures like the present one are called "poro piibele", "children of poro". They always appear in pairs and were meant to represent the ideal Senufo woman and the ideal Senufo man, and were often described as representing the mythical ancestral couple.

During funeral ceremonies, the figures are pounded on the ground in unison with the drums and horns. This is to drive away evil spirits thus creating a smooth and safe passage for the deceased's spirit into the land of ancestors. This developed into the term "rhythm pounder" in Western literature.

When not in use, the figures stood near the "kpaala" or they were kept in the sacred grove ("sinzanga") outside the village.


ADHRC: 0072382