Bird-GDISPLAY362

A Senufo Porpianong (Hornbill) Wooden Bird Figure

A SENUFO ‘PORPIANONG’ BIRD FIGURE, IVORY COAST Representing a hornbill, with long curved beak and protruding pregnant belly

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Description
Additional information
  • A 14 inch tall Porpianong (Hornbill) figure, one of five Senufo primordial animals. Statues representing hornbills, the mythological founder of the Senufo people, are used in the Lo and Poro society as symbols of fertility. The figures were originally worn on the head during long dances and processions but are also carved standing on the ground and are often well over 3 feet tall.. These enormous birds, called Setien or Porpianong, when carved to represent procreation have their long hooked beaks touching their protruding stomachs that have been fertilized, therefore being the carrier of life and a symbol of continuity to future generations. The wings are usually represented as a square board, often carved or painted with geometrical patterns.

    Hornbills are noble birds; they mate for life and they share equally in the raising of their young who they protect by spreading their wings, thus they tend to be depicted in their erect, protective stance. Figures of the hornbill are used in initiation, and groups of birds on a pole are used as trophies for the best farmer.

    Sources: A History of Art in Africa / Africa – The Art of a Continent / The Tribal Art of Africa / The Dance, Art and Ritual of Africa

    The Senufo are the ancestral tribe that inhabited the African region of Côte d’Ivoire (Ivory Coast), Mali, and Burkina Faso.  This large sculpture was borne aloft as an emblem of Poro society leadership during initiation rites. Sometimes called “the mother of Poro children,” it represents the hornbill, a bird that mates for life, one of the five Senufo primordial animals. The bold juxtaposition of shapes-flat rectangular wings, round swelling stomach, elongated neck and phallic beak-creates a compelling image. Polychroming is geometric on one wing, curvilinear on the other, and covers the back entirely. The holes in the wings accommodated cords to steady its movement, and the beak bears native metal repairs.A Senufo Porpianong Bird Figure from Ivory Coast Region – Representing a hornbill, with long curved beak and protruding pregnant belly.

    Provenance
    J. J. Klejman (b. 1906 – d. 1995; dealer), New York. Private American collection. December 8, 1989, sold by Pace Primitive and Ancient Art, New York (stock no. 52-11952) to William and Bertha Teel, Marblehead, MA; 1994, acquired by Worthington Galleries collector, 1995.

  • Weight

    2lb.

    Height

    14"

    Width

    5"

    Depth

    5"

    Weight

    2lb.

    Height

    14"

    Width

    5"

    Depth

    5"

    Origin

    Africa

    Date

    19th Century

    Medium

    Wood

    Kind

    Ethnographic Art & Ancient Artifacts, Sculptures