Seated female figure (jonyeleni)

African, Bamana peoples, Mali
20th century
Artist Unidentified


45.72 cm (18 in.)

Accession Number


Medium or Technique

Wood, beads, and metal

On View

Richard B. Carter Gallery (Gallery 171)


Africa and Oceania



Featured in Jo and Gwan society events linked to initiation, healing, and social responsibilities, idealized female figures such as this one vary in size and style, from geometric angularity to more rounded forms. This seated figure with appended earrings and beads is probably from the Segou region, though it is less elongated than some others. It shows the characteristic pointed breasts with scarification, paddlelike hands and arrow-shaped nose. Geometric incising bands the face and defines the surface of the coiffure.


Ralph Nash, London. Simone de Monbrison (dealer), Paris. Lee Bronson, Los Angeles. October 5, 1983, sold by Pace Primitive and Ancient Art, New York (stock no. 51-4883) 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)

NOTE: Provenance information was provided by Pace Gallery at the time of the Teels' purchase.

Credit Line

Gift of William E. and Bertha L. Teel