Equestrian and Four Figures

A work made of terracotta.
CC0 Public Domain Designation

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  • A work made of terracotta.

Date:

Probably late 12th/15th century

Artist:

Bankoni
Bougouni region, Mali
Northern Africa and the Sahel

About this artwork

Terracotta figures like this set might have served a ritual purpose. The adornment on the figures, including the hairstyles and possible scarification marks, suggest sta- tus and wealth. The horse-and-rider with a knife strapped to his left arm may evoke the significant role that cavalry played in the expansion of empires and control of trade routes in West Africa during past centuries.
The descriptive term Bankoni derives from the village where archaeologists unearthed similar objects from the 1950s onward. Located near Bamako, Mali’s capital, this region is today inhabited by the Bamana people, whose ancestors are believed to have made works in a similar style. These five figures were not excavated in a scientific context but recent tests and scans have helped to confirm their age and regional origins.

Currently Off View

Arts of Africa

Artist

Bankoni

Title

Equestrian and Four Figures

Origin

Mali

Date

1175–1500

Medium

Terracotta

Dimensions

Horse and Rider: 70 x 21 x 48.5 cm (27 1/2 x 8 1/4 x 19 in.); Figures: 28.5 x 14.6 x 19.3 cm (17 1/4 x 5 3/4 x 7 5/8 in.); 46 x 14.7 x 19 cm (18 x 5 7/8 x 7 1/2 in.); 44 x 10.2 x 18.5 cm (17 1/4 x 4 x 7 1/4 in.); 28.5 x 12.7 x 18.4 cm (17 3/8 x 5 x 7 1/4 in.)

Credit Line

Ada Turnbull Hertle Endowment

Reference Number

1987.314.1-5

Extended information about this artwork

Object information is a work in progress and may be updated as new research findings emerge. To help improve this record, please email .

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