Female Figure



Figures like this were made by blacksmiths, who were also sculptors of wood. Initiated blacksmith youths would have oiled and dressed them in the manner of unmarried women. The youths displayed them during dances to show that they were looking for brides. Hutchings considered that a single figure of this type was enough to represent Malinke ‘art’ as a whole in the museum. In making his case to purchase it he said: “These figures are the most important art productions of the Malinke, and we shall probably need to buy nothing else from this group.”