African Art: a prestigious Swiss collection

Milan, Wednesday 14 October 2020


Senufo, Korhogo region (Northern Ivory Coast)

Dense black patina wood
H 33 cm
Katiéléo female sculpture.

Rare sculpture in the stylistic representation of the Senufo people from Korhogo. Katiéléo was one of the goddesses worshipped by Senufo people. She was a primordial ancestor, a sacred mother-goddess that played a vital role in the mythology of this group. There are several examples of similar figures, represented while sitting on a stool, breastfeeding their child. They can be up to one meter high, but in this case, the figure is 33 cm. She sits on a one-legged stool and her face is partially hidden by a dramatic lock of hair that falls over her large nose, which is a distinctive feature of these works. The geometric structure of the face is signaled by bulging eyes and flat, protruding lips. The sizeable bosom represents fertility. There is a space left between the body and the arms, the latter bent on the belly and adorned with bracelets on the wrists and forearms. A series of full volumes that alternate with empty spaces adorns the statue thanks to the skillful work of the sculptor, who carved the body with refined scarifications. The wood is covered by a thick coating due to repeated treatments with oily substances.


€ 8.000 - 10.000

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- George F. Keller antique collection (Bern) (Inv. G.F.K….number illegible);
- Former Paolo Morigi collection (Lugano);
- Former private collection (Lugano);


- Bern 1980, Musée des Beaux Arts;
- Lugano 2002, Palazzo Riva, Banca Svizzera Italiana (BSI);


Reproduced in:
- MORIGI PAOLO “Raccolta di un amatore d’arte primitiva”, Magliaso, Lugano & Kunstmuseum Bern, Switzerland 1980, fig. 34, page 52;
- VENTURI LUCA M. “Anime antiche, arte negra, da una raccolta di sculture dell’Africa occidentale” BSI Bank, Lugano 2002, fig. 5;

- HOLAS B. “Arts de la Cote d’Ivoire: Les trésors du Musée d’Abidjan” Vevey 1969, page 111;
- HOLAS B. “Sculptures ivoiriennes” Paris 1973, fig. 90, page 228;
- GOLDWATER ROBERT “Senufo sculpture from West Africa” New York 1964, ill. 105;


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