Lot: 143

Female figure "deblé", 19th century

Côte d'Ivoire, Senufo, Sikasso region

Provenance Size Starting price / estimated price
Joseph Menges, Limburg an der Lahn, Germany. Joseph Menges, Limburg an der Lahn, Germany. Menges, who died between 1909 and 1912, worked for Carl Hagenbeck, the founder of the famous „Tierpark Hagenbeck“ in Hamburg as animal dealer and spent most of his life hunting animals throughout Africa.
Zemanek-Münster, 19. September 2009, lot 188
H: 43.7 inch 15000 EUR / 50000 EUR

wood, rep., base A similar object, possibly from the same artist, was auctioned on May 15, 1991 as lot 54 at Sotheby's New York. This figures are used by men's and women's secret societies in the context of commemorative funeral and initiation rites of the "poro" society. They were renamed "rhythm-pounders" in Western literature since it has been reported that at funeral celebrations young initiates would tap the "deblé" on the ground in a synchronized beat with the drums and horns in order to clear a path for the deceased. Apart from that, the figures were stood near the "kpaala", a big wooden shelter, which every initiation centre of a village had.