At first view, it is not possible to say for sure, that these two statues belong to the Senufo style. Both are colored and the style elements are certainly not typically Senufo. But by word to mouth these two male statues were determined as Nyingife figures, which provide protection for the owner. Though these two look pretty extreme, the owner was special too. It is said, that this "man was not from this world".
It is interpretation, what it could mean, not to be from this world. I could be a mental disorder, a physical handicap or just an extravaganza. Health issues are kind of taboo to talk about for the Senufo. The colour, which is used by the Senufo since 1950, gives these two statues the special spiritual power. Very quick an untypical object is judged or wrongly classified. So the context is very important to know.
"I would not have bought these two Nyingife right away. They are not elegant. I did identify right away, that the red figure was carved by Songuifolo Silué. But the thick paint did confuse me. I know, that diviners use paint to give a certain power to an object. Ok, this story could be made up, but to me, I made sence that these untypical statues where made for a special purpose." Markus Ehrhard.
Left: Male Nyingife, carved by Songuifolo Silué, Fono from Sirasso. *1914 +1986. Time of creation after 1950.
12,0 x 4,0 x 4,0 cm, wood, red paint. Collected by Souleymane Arachi 2014 in Boundiali. The Nyingife belonged to a man, "who was not from this world".
- Wenn Neuordnung Ordnung schafft, Markus Ehrhard, pages 21, 132 - 133.
- Kunst und Religion bei den Gbato-Senufo, Elfenbeinküste, Karl-Heinz Krieg und Wulf Lohse, page 46 - 49.
- Aus Afrika, Ahnen - Geister - Götter, Jürgen Zwernemann und Wulf Lohse, Seite 21 - 22.
- Afrika Begegnung, aus der Sammlung Artur und Heidrun Elmer, page 42.
Right: Male Nyingife, carver unknown. Time of creation after 1950.
16,0 x 4,5 x 4,0 cm, wood, yellow and green paint. Collected by Souleymane Arachi 2014 in Boundiali. The Nyingife belonged to a man, "who was not from this world".
- Wenn Neuordnung Ordnung schafft, Markus Ehrhard, pages 60, 134 - 135.
- Kunst & Kontext, Ausgabe 08, 2014, page 48.
Copyright content and images by Markus Ehrhard