Boli Nyama Power Figure

c. 1900
$18,000 USD
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W: 9.0" D: 27.0" H: 17.5"
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Created at the beginning of the 20th century by artisans of the Bambara people of Mali, this figure was shaped with cloth and organic substances around a wooden core, emulating the sculptural form and crusty texture of the sacred boli. Layered with sacrificial materials, the boli served as a mediating force in Bambara culture, imbued with supernatural energy called nyama, and was invoked as a mediating force between the spirit and human realms. The most sacred of all Bambara sculptures, these ritual objects are handled only by a select group of elders and consulted to resolve disputes, cure illnesses, hunt down malicious spiritual forces, and protect the community from harm. Amorphous and organic, the figure resonates with modernist sculpture yet is energized with a vibrant spiritual connection.

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