Female figure

African, Malinke peoples, Mali
20th century
Artist Unidentified


Dimensions

54.61 cm (21 1/2 in.)

Accession Number

1996.374

Medium or Technique

Wood

Not On View

Collections

Africa and Oceania

Classifications

Sculpture

Living near the Bamana in southern Mali, the Malinke carve figures and masks that closely resemble those of their neighbors. This small, delicately carved figure standing on a domed base bears intricate geometric incising. A visual tension is created between the round crested head with its heart-shaped face and the vertical body with its scarification. Such figures, sometimes called dyonyeni, are thought to be idealized expressions of women and were displayed at Jo society events, among other contexts.

Provenance

Dr. Helen Kuhn, Los Angeles. April, 1984, sold by Pace Primitive and Ancient Art, New York (stock no. 51-4968), to William and Bertha Teel, Marblehead, MA; 1996, partial gift of William and Bertha Teel to the MFA; 2014, acquired fully with the bequest of William Teel to the MFA. (Accession Dates: December 18, 1996 and February 26, 2014)

Credit Line

Gift of William E. and Bertha L. Teel