African Art / Works from the Swiss collection of Walter Schwab
Wednesday 13 October 2021, 05:00 PM • Milan
Hardwood with a glossy black glaze, with red, white and blue decorations.
This small ethnic group which lives in the north-east of Ivory Coast, on its border with Ghana, is culturally linked to the Senufo, but their masks represent an incredibly rare body of work in the African artistic portfolio.Produced by Djimini sculptors, they are essentially dance masks that take inspiration from the common Senufo Kpelié masks, from which they lifted several stylistic similarities.Here, this is particularly evident in the fine engraving of the eyes, the long nose, the mouth with small, protruding lips and the appendages on the sides of the face. The horizontal markings which outline the mouth can also be found on many Senufo masks.The asymmetrical markings on the cheeks are also very interesting, typical of Djimini masks. The keloid scar in the middle of the brow represents the symbol of the female sex. The hairstyle is formed of thick tufts of hair on the sides of the head, adorned with small, coloured braids. Similarly to other masks from this group, the surface of the wood is thoroughly polished and painted with a polychrome decoration, which covers it with red, white and blue pigments. On the back, there are holes that a cloak would be attached to. The erosion of the wood indicates signs of prolonged use.
GOY BERTRAND “Cote d’Ivoire - Premieres regards sur la sculpture - 1850/1935” Paris 2012, pag. 34 - 36 (998);
GOLDWATER ROBERT “Senufo sculpture from West Africa” New York 1964, fig.34 (1081);
GUY LOUDMER “Arts Primitifs” Paris Hotel Drouot auction on 14 May 1990;
SOTHEBY’S “Collection Brian et Diane Leyden: Art Bété et Sénufo” Paris auction on 5 December 2007, lot 10 (625)SOTHEBY’S “Collection Marceau Riviére” Paris, auction on 18 and 19 June 2019;
, lot 94 (1047);