Lot: 162

95th Tribal Art Auction

Staff "tefalipitya"

Côte d'Ivoire, Senufo

Provenance Size Starting price / estimated price
Georges Loiseau ("Maître Loiseau"), Abidjan, Ivory Coast
Lucas Ratton, Paris, France
Loiseau (deceased 1991) worked as a notary public in Abidjan from 1953. Around 1957 he began collecting African art and made one of the largest collections of artworks from the Ivory Coast.
H: 53.9 inch 4000 EUR
plus 23 % commission, VAT, transport and insurance

wood, two-coloured, base The sculpted figure always represents a "pitya" - a young unmarried woman at the peak of her physical beauty. "Te-fali-pitya" means "hoe-work-girl". From dawn to dusk throughout the cultivating season, teams of young men swing their iron hoes to the rhythms of drums and xylophones, as proud staff bearers follow behind the competing champions of each team. Through the use of sculpture, orchestra, song and dance, hoeing contests transform grinding labor into ritual. The winners will receive a "tefalipitya" staff as a trophy. Henceforth, they are worshipped within the clan as significant ancestors and thus gain immortality. They also benefit in this life, for example, by having the best chance of a good match, that is, by having the prettiest girls married.