Madebele divination couple
Wood, palm oil, metal
H: 23.0 cm, W: 7.5 cm, D: 7.0 cm (H: 9.1 in, W: 2.9 in, D: 2.8 in)
Fowler Museum at UCLA. Gift of Dr. and Mrs. Harry Steinberg. X92.2a,b
Male/female pairs symbolize the importance of balance between the genders for the Senufo peoples of Mali, Burkina Faso, and Côte d’Ivoire. These figures depict bush spirits, animate beings dwelling in the fields, streams, and woods surrounding villages, who can bring misfortune or demonstrate beneficence. Female diviners belonging to the Senufo women’s Sandogo association develop a personal relationship with madebele figures who serve as messengers to the spirit world.
Gallery text, Intersections: World Arts, Local Lives, 2006