Old Bamana Maternity – Mali
Early to mid 20th. Wood. Approximately cm. 80,0 high (31.5”). Kg 4,18 (9.22 lb).
Bambara Maternity Figure is intended to encourage fertility and to celebrate motherhood.
The Bambara (or Bamana) are a Mandé people living in west Africa, primarily in Mali but also in Guinea, Burkina Faso and Senegal.
In African art the concept of motherhood and maternity is a theme surfacing in just about every tribal group. Although most societies in Africa could be viewed as paternalistic or male dominated, artfully rendered maternity figures idealizing and glorifying women were commonplace. Yet, the purpose of this art was not simply to glorify women. As a genre of African art, maternity figures relate to themes of continuity, fertility, the promise of future generations, spiritual and regenerative powers, and the capacity to nurture everyone from the individual to the society at large. These themes were represented by depictions of the female form most frequently shown with a young child, but they were themes that had relevance to men and women alike.
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