502 - Kneeling man, hands on knees


This is a fine example of a type of pain based statuary, typical of the Djenné civilization. The subject is kneeling with a plaintive and painful attitude. Its disturbing sexual attributes lead one to believe that this is the representation of a hermaphrodite. In fact, 50 % of the Djenné population was hermaphroditic. As the hermaphrodite would have been regarded as deviant, this may be the representation of a human sacrifice. The condemned would be represented bound and waiting for the blow to his neck that would break his back.

He would have already been thrown into the snake pit - these marks on its back are evidence of their bites. These sacrificial preparations contribute to the feeling of lethargy and anesthetization we find in this piece.

H. 30 cm x L. 13 cm x W. 8 cm
Dating: 14-17th century

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