African, Mali, Bamana peoples
Object Place: Mali
Overall: 98 x 14 x 14 cm (38 9/16 x 5 1/2 x 5 1/2 in.)
Medium or Technique
Not On View
The production of masks and metal objects was the responsibility of the blacksmiths, referred to as numuw. They were leaders of the Komo secret society, which was oversaw the spiritual health and longevity of the community. This oil lamp, which recalls similarly constructed prestige staffs, depicts an anthropomorphized human figure with arms pointed upwards. Bamana smiths used objects like this one as a way to display their technical ability and creative skills.
1993, sold by Allen Hurst, Cambridge, MA to Geneviève McMillan (b. 1922 - d. 2008), Cambridge, MA; 2008, to the Geneviève McMillan and Reba Stewart Foundation, Cambridge; 2009, gift of the Geneviève McMillan and Reba Stewart Foundation to the MFA. (Accession Date: June 17, 2009)
Gift of Geneviève McMillan in memory of Reba Stewart