Jo Society Maternity Figure

  • Product Code: BM2-120
  • Dimensions: 0" x 0" x 0"
  • Availability: In Stock
  • USD $


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The 2,500,000 Bamana people, also called Bambara, form the largest ethnic group in Mali and occupy the central part of the country, in an area of savannah. They live principally from agriculture. The religious and social life of the Bamana was once determined by six initiation societies. Nearly every Bamana male had to pass through these societies in succession, until, upon reaching the highest rank, he had acquired a comprehensive knowledge of ancestral traditions. Each state of initiation was accompanied by the use of certain mask types, most of them zoomorphic. This piece is typical of the Jo society figures with the protruding breasts, the convex facial profile, and paddle-like hands. This figure would likely have been carried in dance performances by the initiates of the Jo society, a men's and women's initiation society of southwestern Bamana. This figure represents the Bamana ideal of beauty, and expresses the young dancers' wishes for marriage and fulfillment of their roles as adult members of the community. -Robbins/Nooter -Bacquart

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