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Female twin figure (flanitokele), 20th century
Kala, Mali; Bamana
Wood, metal, H: 11.75 in, W: 5.5 in, D: 5.5 in
Gift of Dr. and Mrs. Bernard Wagner, 2009  L2.2007.2.1
Not On View
Interpretation: The figures here likely represent a deceased twin and its spiritual companion. In Bamana culture, twins are considered to have special powers and are featured prominently in stories of human origin. When a twin dies in childhood, it is commemorated with a sculpted figure that is cared for by the mother and later by the surviving adult twin. When the twin marries, a companion sculpture is commissioned. While the figures are clearly male and female, their overall similarity and symmetry reflects Bamana ideals about the need for harmony and balance between genders.
Provenance: Dr. and Mrs. Bernard Wagner, Westbury, New York, until 2009; Newark Museum, gift, 2009
Exhibition History:
"Arts of Africa," permanent galleries, Newark Museum, Newark, New Jersey (installed 2008).

Keywords: Sculpture