Kulango Standing Male Figure Côte d'Ivoire
This sculpture displays a distinctive sculptural composition, featuring an elongated, finely crafted face complemented by an intricate coiffure and a stylized raised neck at the back. The figure exhibits relief knees and projected tendons, with a natural patina resulting from extensive handling. Traces of white, dark, and blue pigments adorn the hairstyle and markings, and while there are minor cracks in some areas, such as the hairstyle and face, overall, the piece is in good condition. The specific use and function of this artifact remain largely unknown, but it is speculated to have served as an ancestor figure or a representation of a positive spirit.
The Kulango people, situated in the transitional region between Mali and the Akan cultures of Ghana and Côte d'Ivoire, migrated from the north and, over time, assimilated cultural traits from neighboring societies, particularly the Asante. Influences from the Senufo to the east and the Baule from the coastal area are evident in Kulango sculpture. Although Baule sculptural elements, such as the hairstyle, have become more prominent, the neck proportions and scarification patterns remain distinctive to the Kulango.
A comparable example can be found in Warren M. Robbins and Nancy Ingram Nooter's "African Art in American Collections" (Shiffer Book, 2004, fig. 141, pp. 106).
I have examined this piece and agree with the description.
Niangi Batulukisi, PhD.
Approximate Age: Mid 20th Century
Made In: Côte d'Ivoire