Primordial Couple (2), Dogon Tribe, Mali
Wood carved male and female seated primordial couple. Arrow quiver on the back of the male and a baby on the back of the female.
The seated couple introduced an important conceptual theme in African sculpture. The male figure with a quiver of arrows on his back, symbolized the role of the hunter-warrior, while the female carries a baby on her back, embodies the role of mother and nurturer. The interlocking forms convey the male-female as an ideal social unity; strengthen the importance of the couple in assuring the continuity of life. The primordial couple depicts sexual unity and order, and the idea of continuity of the generations expressed in ancestral worship by the belief that the deceased elder is reborn into the supernatural world, as ancestor and reborn again in a child of the family. Usually representing spirits, ancestors or the primordial couple, these figures were placed in shrines and treated with great respect. Through a wide range of style, scale, belief and function the couples depicted share a timeless, serene equality necessary to the continuity of their societies. Traditionally, most of the couples are two freestanding figures, conceived as a unit, and posed frontally, symmetrically, in formal postures and of equal size.
Acquired in 2018 from the estate of Jacques Gansler
Dimensions: Height 19.5 inches; Depth and Width 6.25 inches