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Kulango Wooden Heddle Pulley - PF.5918
Origin: Ghana
Circa: 20 th Century AD
Dimensions: 8.5" (21.6cm) high x 2.75" (7.0cm) wide
Collection: African
Style: Kulango
Medium: Wood

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"Nobody likes to live without beautiful things," replied a Guro weaver when asked why he hung a decoratively carved pulley on his wooden post loom set up beneath a mango tree. The decorative features of West African heddle pulleys -- devices that hold the heddles in looms -- are created solely for aesthetic satisfaction, and have no ritual or magical purpose. The delicately carved figure on the pulley peers down at the weaver as he works and becomes his constant visual companion. The formal composition of these small pieces shows great virtuosity and variation: the artists strive for originality, ingenuity, elegance, and imaginative effects. Naturalistic faces occur rarely on pulleys. Senufo artists draw upon a wide repertoire of facial styles that appear on statues for spirits and masks. This heddle pulley takes on the form of an elephant complete with elongated trunk and exaggerated round ears. The elephant is a tribal symbol of might and strength and an international symbol for all of Africa. White highlights emphasize the eyes and tusks of this majestic creature. Overall, this charming sculpture shows the delicacy, smoothness of finish, and skillful composition that are prized by African carvers. - (PF.5918)

 

 

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