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Jo Nyeleni Statue

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Item 631
15.00 LBS
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Maximum Purchase:
1 unit(s)

Product Description

This special section features items that we are particularly proud of. They are all museum grade quality and will be of interest to the most discriminating of buyers.

Called the Jo Nyeleni or pretty little one, these sculptures are carved with an emphasis on ideal attributes of feminine beauty. First born daughters are often given the name of this sculpture. Associated with Jo, a Mande society in Southern Mali, the Nyeleni or Jonyeleni (female figure) is mostly used as an insignia of initiation. The towns of Bougouni, Dioila and Sikasso form a rough triangle in which the secret initiation societies are reduced to two: the Jo and the Gwan. The Jo association offer general social guidance and teach modes of behavior. With internal subdivisions and elaborate ceremonies and rituals the society is based on a hierarchical order of initiation with a six year period before actual graduation. This waiting period is called "Jo Kalan" which means "learning about Jo." Among the new Jo members are the groups of blacksmiths who utilize these sculptures when they perform for their own communities and tour. By holding the sculptures or setting them in the performance arena, they give the most successful and entertaining performances within the performing groups of the Jo as they dance and sing. The Mande also use these sculptures as memorials for a deceased twin, male or female. Memorial figures tend to be smaller than the initiation figures which are always female. The tall, robust, full bodied statue on display exudes dignity and femininity with classic styling. A conical head shape surmounted by a pointed double crest hairdo, pleasant facial features, long slender sensual neck, large breasts, flattened splayed palms, tapered waist with a slight protruding belly and a heavy bottom. One original earring believed to be either copper or brass, has been preserved and is intact within the earlobe. The other piece is missing along with a small section of the lobe. The wood surface is exactly the way it should be with defined touches of patina from years of handling, engrained earth from exposure and mottled thin patches of crust from liquid libation offerings. There are a few age cracks which are totally insignificant. This is an excellent authentic example and a prized item for any serious collector. A certificate of authenticity will accompany this piece.

Please click photo for enlargement.

Dimensions: 29 inches tall x 6 1/2 inches deep x 9 1/2 inches across.  

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