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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:On the Purpose of Bari Figurines
Author:Pugach, Zoja
Periodical:St. Petersburg Journal of African Studies
Geographic term:Sudan
Peoples of Africa (Ethnic Groups)
Architecture and the Arts
Abstract:The wooden sculpture of the Bari of the Nilotic Sudan is quite heterogeneous. The anthropomorphic figurines differ in size, some have explicit signs of sex, others have none, and there is also variation in the shape of the head and the features and details of the face. They have been variously described in the literature as magic objects manufactured by sorcerers, 'Penates', i.e. images of deceased relatives sculpted in their memory, and charms carried for preventing some mischief or 'for luck'. Information on handling these figurines is also contradictory: they were kept in huts, or they were carried on the body (hung around the neck or tied around the waist). The present article, first published in Russian in 1975, compares the opinions of European collectors and others who wrote about the Bari figurines in the last quarter of the 19th and the first decades of the 20th century. These include M. Delaporte, M. Hansal, Wassily Junker, A.-J. Mounteney-Jephson, C. Seligman, G. Whitehed and T. Thomas, and G. Schweinfurth. Bibliogr., notes, ref.