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Female Figure

A work made of wood and sacrificial material.
CC0 Public Domain Designation

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  • A work made of wood and sacrificial material.


11th-19th century


Tellem or Dogon
Bandiagara region, Mali
Northern Africa and the Sahel

About this artwork

Raised arms, pared-down forms, and crusty patinas are considered the hallmarks of the Tellem sculptural style. This figure’s pose has been interpreted as a plea for rain. Placed on an altar, it would have received offerings of sacrifices, resulting in the thick coating that imbued it with a vital energy. The Tellem, who occupied the arid region of the Bandiagara Escarpment from the 11th to the 16th century, are believed to be predecessors of contemporary Dogon people.


On View, Gallery 137


Arts of Africa




Female Figure


Mali (Object made in)

Date  Dates are not always precisely known, but the Art Institute strives to present this information as consistently and legibly as possible. Dates may be represented as a range that spans decades, centuries, dynasties, or periods and may include qualifiers such as c. (circa) or BCE.



Wood and sacrificial material


49.2 × 6.7 × 6.9 cm (19 5/8 × 2 5/8 × 2 3/4 in.)

Credit Line

Gift of Grace Hokin

Reference Number


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Extended information about this artwork

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