Chinese, Japanese, Asian Antiques, by June Hastings

Rare Large 19th mid 20th C African Senufo Hornbill Bird Wood Sculpture

Rare Large 19th mid 20th C African Senufo Hornbill Bird Wood Sculpture


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Directory: Vintage Arts: Regional Art: African: Sculpture: Pre 1960: Item # 1403716

Please refer to our stock # JHsenufo when inquiring.
June Hastings
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June Hastings
By Appointment Only
Raleigh, NC, USA

Guest Book
 $12,500.00 
A very impressive African tribal Senufo bird statue measuring 61.75 inches high with a 25" wingspan. The bird's wings are carved in relief with images of lizards, crocodiles, turtles and birds. The body beneath the beak has a carving of a large lizard. The rest of the bird features repeated geometric carvings on front and back. In very good condition with expected splits to wood and various minor conditions associated with age. Please feel free to email with any questions or for more photos to JuneHastings@outlook.com Provenance: From the corporate collection of Tibi Wilson, Ltd.

According to the Metropolitain Museum of Art, "Bird figures are among the many art forms associated with Poro, a society of initiated Senufo men. Poro functions as a system of governmental and economic control, preparing young men for their roles as adults and serving as a channel for the worship of ancestors and of Ancient Mother, one of the two principal Senufo deities. Within the society there is a series of grades though which groups of initiates pass at six- or seven-year intervals. Poro activities center around initiations of new members, the elevation of members to higher grades, and funerals. In some Senufo villages, the bird sculptures are kept in the sacred grove of Poro, where they stand guard protecting the members. During initiations and some funeral rituals, they are carried in processions... Poro and its art forms continue to play roles in Senufo society, although the bird figures have become rare. Senufo bird figures refer to both the physical and intellectual aspects of life, which together assure the continuation of the community. The long, phallic beak touching the swollen belly suggestive of pregnancy alludes to the dual forces of male and female procreation. The yellow-casqued hornbill, one of the species found in the Senufo area, is considered the master among birds and a symbol of intellectual power... The birds' rectangular, outstretched wings are painted or carved in relief with geometric designs or images of snakes, lizards, other animals, or human figures. These motifs serve as didactic tools, referring the initiate to the wealth of knowledge embodied by Poro."
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