SENUFO STAFF WITH A SEATED FEMALE SCULTPURE TEFALIPITYA, IVORY COAST
H. 13.77 in – 64.96 in
- Collection Bernard Bottet, Cannes
- Collection Alain Schoffel, Paris
- Collection Béatrice et Patrick Caput, Paris
- François Neyt, Trésors de Côte d’Ivoire, 2014, n°107
- Patrick Caput et Valentine Plisnier, Arts d’Afrique. Portraits d’une collection, 2016, p.148-149
The tefalipitya staffs were presented to the worthiest Senufo farmers as an award. Real honorific trophies, they were awarded at the end of an agricultural competition in which each young poro initiate demonstrated his strength at work, his speed and his dexterity. Topped with a figure symbolising the wife that the champion had earned the right to receive, they were held up in front of the assembly. They also appeared at funeral ceremonies where they were used as sceptres. Exalting feminine beauty and fertility, the young lady here is wearing an elegant, traditional braided headdress (see photo opposite). Linear scarifications give a delicate rhythm to her sensitive face. Sitting on a small stool, she wraps her long, slender arms around her rounded belly. This statuette is in excellent condition. The staff’s tip is in wrought iron «so it can be stuck into the ground next to the labourer while working in the fields» (see Arts d’Afrique. Portraits d’une collection, p.140). Observe the lovely red and black marbling of the wooden shaft.