Statue(s) - Hardwood - jonyeleni - Bambara - Mali

Statue(s) - Hardwood - jonyeleni - Bambara - Mali
2nd half 20th century - Vintage - used with visible signs of wear

The figurines called Jonyeleni, are representations of woman at the first origin of Jo.

They are the physical embodiment of the soul of the feminine entity at the origin of the creation of initiatory practices which organise and maintain social order.

These statues evoke a young girl, in her ideal state, at here highest degree of physical attraction.

The Jonyeleni statuettes are used during the septennial initiations in which they go from village to village, carried by the Jodenw.

One of the aims of these itinerant trips is to "update" the alliances between families for the future marriage of young people.

Renewnelyeni, “Sweetness of life”:
is the name of the day of the ritual where these female figures, representing an ideal of female beauty, are washed, purified, anointed and then displayed.

On that day, at the beginning of the rain season, they are asked to be the guarantors of the fertility of the land, of the fertility of women, of the continuation of good relations with the ancestors.
Adapted from the book "Bamana" of the Rietberg Museum

The left breast has been restored.

Lot details
Indigenous object name
Ethnic group/ culture
Region/ country
2nd half 20th century
Vintage - used with visible signs of wear
Sold with stand
18×76×76 cm
2500 g
Not registered yet?
By creating your free Catawiki account, you’ll be able to bid on any of our 50,000 special objects up for auction every week.
or Sign in