Senufo "tefalipitya" staff, Ivory Coast
47" tall
wood, pigment
early to mid 20th century
well worn patina from extensive use

$1800

The tefalipitya ('hoe work girl') staff honors the champion
cultivator, and by extension, the residential kinship unit (
katiolo)
whose pride and prestige he upholds. The champion cultivator
as culture hero is a theme celebrated by an entire complex
structures, praise poems, musical and dance arrangements and
funeral rituals. The sculptured figure always represents a
pitya -
a young unmarried woman at the peak of her physical beauty.
For additional detail click on any thumbnail to see the high resolution version of the image.