Senufo (Senoufo, Siena, Sienna), Côte dIvoire, Burkina Faso, Mali
Ceremonial Spoon. The Senufo numbering 1,000,000 to 1,500,000 are a farming people. They live in the northern and central regions of the Côte dIvoire, and the southern regions of Mali and Burkina Faso. The Senufo are concentrated in big villages broken up into units of matrilineal lineage descending from a common ancestor. The Senufo produce a rich variety of sculptures, mainly associated with the Poro society, to which adult men belong and which maintains the continuity of religious and historical traditions, especially through the cult of the ancestors. A woman who has distinguished herself through her hospitality and generosity will own a superb spoon of sculpted wood. She parades through town with her female friends and family, carrying a large serving spoon as an emblem of her status. The spoon possesses the power to make one rich and famous and confers a sure authority over the other women. Such spoons are carved for most hospitable women famed for invitations to her compound where she houses and feeds visitors.
Size: H. 17½, W. 6, D. 3