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    Description

    Senufo (Côte d'Ivoire, Western Africa)
    Seated mother and child
    Wood
    Height: 12-1/2 inches

    Maternity figures are prevalent among the Senufo. Large examples refer to the primordial mother or a legendary founding ancestor. In contrast, a small maternity sculpture like this fine example would have been kept by an individual of family and kept in a personal shrine. Maternity figures testify to the significance of mothers as preservers of a people's continuity. They are a primary focus of prayers for fertility and healthy childbirth.

    The masterful counterbalancing of opposing curved forms which make up this sculpture is a testimony to the ability of the finest African carvers. The thrusting torso with concave back, the graceful, prominent breasts and the charming intimacy of the child interacting with the mother are just a few interactions which can be celebrated. The jutting jaw is balanced by the elaborate back thrusting hairdo.

    The woman's coiffure is not fanciful, but an actual depiction of a hair style worn until recent times. The facial scarification, loin garment, stool and armlets are also traditional elements.

    This carving is in excellent condition; close examination reveals a dark patination that has mostly been worn off, probably from years of handling.

    The term "museum quality" is sometimes over-used in the world of tribal art, but it hardly seems a stretch when referring to this beautiful and elegant sculpture.

    PROVENANCE:
    Collection of Walter Randel, New York.

    Please Note: This lot will be accompanied by a Letter of Expertise (pictured below) from Michael Kan, former curator of the African Art Collection at the Detroit Museum of Art. Also pictured below is an e-mail from Walter Randel to Michael Kan confirming the provenance of this lot.


    Condition Report*: Condition report available upon request.
    *Heritage Auctions strives to provide as much information as possible but encourages in-person inspection by bidders. Statements regarding the condition of objects are only for general guidance and should not be relied upon as complete statements of fact, and do not constitute a representation, warranty or assumption of liability by Heritage. Some condition issues may not be noted in the condition report but are apparent in the provided photos which are considered part of the condition report. Please note that we do not de-frame lots estimated at $1,000 or less and may not be able to provide additional details for lots valued under $500. All lots are sold "AS IS" under the Terms & Conditions of Auction.

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    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    May, 2014
    16th Friday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 9
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
    Page Views: 1,802

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