Bamana Maternity Figure Jomoori Gwandusu Mali
A strong sculpture of a standing mother.
Sculpture among the Bamana of Mali gives rise to a wide range of styles sharing certain identifying characteristics. The styles may range from elegant forms as this figure or reduced to sharply defined geometric sculptures. This grave personage known as Jomooni or Gwandusu is called a ‚Äòmaternity figure' due to her holding a child at her waist, which represents not only a baby but the concept and difficulty of birth and regeneration. Sculpture is an important visual component of the Jo initiation society for young girls and boys. Located primarily among the southern Bamana, Jo takes place over a span of years in which the initiates undergo training and instructions which includes sculptures as ‚Äúmasiriw - the visual ornaments‚Äù of Jow. 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.