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STATUE OF DO NYELENI


BAMBARA (Mali)
H : 58 cm.
Wood and metal
Private collection


The Bambaras constitute an important tribe in Mali. If they are mostly Moslems today, their ancient cult, "do" (or "dyo" or "jo" depending on the groups) comprises an interesting mythology in which appear strongly personalised divinities. This young girl, whose representation bears the name Do Nyeleni (little chosen girl of the "Do"), is the protectress of future mothers as indicated by the breasts shaped like sugar-loaves and the prominent navel. The mixture of angles and curves is very carachteristic of Bambaran statuary. The sculptor has added incrustations produced with copper nails to the detailes incision work: the zig-zag bands which decorate the statue more than likely evoke Ba Faro, the goddess of water and mother to the Bambaran pantheon.



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