Tchètin Bêh Konaté, *1920 +1996

convolut Tugubele Senufo Senoufo art statue sculpture
Convolut of Tugubele statues by Tchètin Bêh Konaté, Zanguinasso

Tchètin Bêh's father, Zanga Konaté, was a well known and very talented carver of fine and very detailed Kpelié masks from Blessegué. Zanga died 1940 in Zanguinasso when Tchétin Bêh was 20 and still in process of learning carving. Father and son were Koulé. Short after  this loss Tchétin Bêh moved to Ouézomon and learned from related Sabariko Koné (persumibly Zanga and Sabariko were Cousins). Sabariko was one of the most famous carvers in Ivory Coast and is described as a master. So Tchètin was strongly influenced by Sabarikos style. Comparing their statues (read also the blog article: The Sabariko Koné Standard) the traditional Senufo elements becomes obvious, but Tchétin Bêh developed his own handwriting, such as his spoonshaped ears or a very thin flattend line along the spine in the back of every statue. Continiously he had a strong artistic awareness, combined with a great workmanship. It is not possible to determine certain stages or periods in his work. Some statues, like the very small Tugubele man, obviously look older, but an exact year or decade of making is not possible to determine. Persumibly this small statue is made between 1940 to 1960. His quality in carving, his techniques and artistic awareness of body, shape and proportions did not change a lot over the years. Later Tchétin Bêh moved back to Zanguinasso where he died 1996 with 76 years.

 

Five of these eight Tugubele statues belonged to a Sando diviner of the Niene, in Ndara, next to Boundiali. After this diviner died, they got sold. This convolut (on the left) is set together by two couples and a single man, who is wearing a pearl belt around the hips (symbol for Cafouhôconri, a ceremony for new level at the Poro). The small male Tugubele was collected afterwards and persumibly there was a female counterpart. The very tall statue is a single Tugubele man, who got collected 2017 in the area of Boundiali. His total height is 75 cm. It is very impressive to see, that even in large scale Tchètin still kept his proportions in the body scales. These large statues mostly belonged to a Poro society and are very rare. Characteristic for the work of Tchètin Bêh and for the Tchébalé (sub-group of the Senufo) are the quintuple scars around the belly button. Down to present day there are Tugubele statues documented only, but no Kpelié masks or other objects carved by Tchétin Bêh Konaté in wood are known.

 

Tugubele couple, carved by  Tchètin Bêh Konate, Koulé from Zanguinasso. *1920 +1996.

Collected by Dramani Kolo-Zié Coulibaly 2016 in Boundiali.

Woman: 27,5 x 7,0 x 6,0 cm, wood.

Man: 30,5 x 7,0 x 7,5 cm, wood.

 

Tugubele couple, carved by  Tchètin Bêh Konate, Koulé from Zanguinasso. *1920 +1996.

Collected by Dramani Kolo-Zié Coulibaly 2016 in Boundiali.

Woman: 25,0 x 6,0 x 6,0 cm, wood.

Man: 26,0 x 6,0 x 5,5 cm, wood.

 


Single sitting male Tugubele, carved by  Tchètin Bêh Konate, Koulé from Zanguinasso. *1920 +1996.

Collected by Souleymane Arachi 2017 in Boundiali.

22,5 x 6,0 x 5,5 cm, wood.

 

Single male Tugubele, carved by  Tchètin Bêh Konate, Koulé from Zanguinasso. *1920 +1996. Persumibly made between 1940 and 1960.

Collected by Souleymane Arachi 2017.

21,0 x 5,5 x 5,0 cm, wood.

 


Single male Tugubele, carved by  Tchètin Bêh Konate, Koulé from Zanguinasso. *1920 +1996.

Collected by Dramani Kolo-Zié Coulibaly 2016 in Boundiali.

30,5 x 7,0 x 7,5 cm, wood.

 

Single male Tugubele, carved by  Tchètin Bêh Konate, Koulé from Zanguinasso. *1920 +1996.

Collected by Souleymane Arachi 2017 in Boundiali.

75,0 x 15,0 x 15,0 cm, wood.

 


 

Literature:

- Wenn Urform Form bestimmt, Markus Ehrhard, pages 126 - 133.

- Afrika Begegnung, aus der Sammlung Artur und Heidrun Elmer, page 43.

- Kunst & Kontext, Ausgabe 4 2012, Dr. Andreas Schlothauer, pages 5 - 7.