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Mossi Fertility Doll Biga

Mossi Fertility Doll Biga

Regular price €95,00
Regular price Sale price €95,00
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Mossi people, mid. 20th century, Burkina Faso

Fascinating, unusual small-sized and hand-carved wooden fertility figure or doll with strongly stylized features are known as a biga, which means "child", in mooré. Figures such as this were given to young Mossi girls as a doll to play but also to prepare her for motherhood. A young girl carries the doll about with her, tucking it into the waistband of her skirt, and pretends to feed, wash and groom it. Sometimes biga is adorned with beads, cowry shells, and dressed with pieces of leather or cloth. The cylindrical body displays the characteristics of an adult Mossi woman, with breasts and navel that represent the fulfillment of motherhood. Facial details are highly simplified, with large almond-shaped eyes and a small mouth that is often absent or barely suggested. Intricate facial scarifications traditionally mark passage to adulthood are also represented by carved patterns. The essential part of the figure is the elaborate hairstyle, it testifies to the status of women. The absence of arms and legs is a stylistic classic among the biga. These figures always stand on a firm, round base (as the present one does). Biga is often the focus of rituals and spritual practices associated with motherhood.  A sterile wife can also acquire this fertility doll, which can bring her the desired pregnancy.  When a child is born, the figures are either placed on house altars, or passed on to the next generation, or even given to the young girls as a toy.

Excellent condition. Intact. Traces of ceremonial use and handling over many years. Beautiful reddish brown color with rich encrusted brown patina. Size approx. 11,9cm x 4,0cm x 1,8cm.

Provenance: Swedish private collection.

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  • Returns

    Returns and exchange will be accepted within fourteen days (14) of receipt at the purchaser’s cost to include freight and packaging. Items must be returned in the same condition as when they were shipped, and will not be accepted if damaged or altered in any way. Please inform us via email ( or by calling +358408408352 before sending. We do not accept returns more than 14 days after delivery.