Bamana Female Figure Jonyele Mali
This is a classic Bamana Figure from the Bougouni region of Mali.
The extraordinary range of figural sculpture among the Bamana of Mali gives rise to a wide range of styles sharing certain identifying characteristics. The sculpture is an important visual component of the Jo initiation society for young girls and boys. Located primarily among southern Bamana, Jo takes place over years in which the initiates undergo training and instructions which includes the use of sculpture called masiriw - the visual ornaments of Jo. As part of annual celebrations that take place when the first rains of the year occur figures such as this would be taken from their shrine house to the center of the village where they would be ritually cleansed and decorated with beads. These events were directed to assure the fertility of women and crops and to acknowledge the ancestors.